Pub Run and Craft Beer Festival draw hundreds to Greencastle

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot
Patti Bethel and Chelsea Laylock brought home souvenir glasses after their visit to downtown Greencastle Saturday afternoon.

By all accounts, the first Greencastle Craft Beer Festival was a success. The second Flannery's Pub Run was too. Both were held Saturday, amid mild temperatures that invited people outdoors.

The half marathon from Mercersburg to Greencastle drew 210 runners. Only two were unable to finish the course. The Mile Kids Run enticed 46 youngsters to run through the north end of town.

While the number of featured racers was down from last year, one of the organizers was not discouraged. Vern McCauley attributed it to the hard winter, which left athletes little time to practice. He was tickled with the children's turnout.

"It was fabulous. They were so excited."

The morning run was followed by an afternoon beer fest in a parking lot on East Baltimore Street. It was sponsored by the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce. A committee worked three months to plan the event, which ran smoothly. Over 800 people paid to enter the fenced area, where 20 brewers accommodated their thirst. The crowd increased as time went on, and the visitors chatted amiably while standing, or took to the shade at tables and chairs under a large tent. Five portable toilets were off to the side. Food was also on sale.

Larry Diana was happy with what he discovered at the fest. He had accumulated souvenir posters, coasters and other memorabilia.

"All this for $12, and a glass."

Each ticket holder received a keepsake plastic mug.

Kelly Reeder, am employee at John Allison Public House, was checking identification at the entrance gate. "Everyone wants to come in and have a good time," she said.

The line was hectic at 1 p.m., then people came in spurts, she added.

Zach Fochtman, York, worked for a distributor handing out samples from the Great Lakes Brewing Co. in Cleveland. He didn't understand how anyone could not be happy at the fest.

"Food and beer and good music and good vibes," he noted. "I'm all for it. I enjoy pouring beer and getting customers for the brewery."

Live music was presented by the Drew Adams Project, a Waynesboro rock band.

Both events attracted participants from Greencastle, area communities and other states.

Patti Bethel, Mercersburg, and her daughter Chelsea Laylock, Frederick, Md., came to see friends who worked at Flannery's on the Square in Mercersburg, or people they went to school with. They bought their tickets when the festival was first advertised.

"We also like to support our local businesses," said Bethel. "This is small town America."

Tracy Weaver, a Greencastle-Antrim High School alumna, and Cory Lescalleet, both of Hagerstown, Md., found out about the event from Facebook. They enjoyed craft beers and decided to drive up to check things out.

"Hopefully they'll do it again next year," said Lescalleet.

Joel Fridgen, executive director of the chamber, was quite satisfied with the day. He was grateful for the help of the committee, and about 20 volunteers who worked the event, including set up and tear down. It would not have gone as well without them, he said. There had been no problems with the crowd.

"It was a social event," he said. "People were out talking and visiting."

John Flannery, very involved with organizing both the Pub Run and Beer Festival, was as sunburned as Fridgen. He considered both activities successful, but was ready to set the goals even higher next year. The team needed to start promoting the 2015 race immediately, because athletes tended to plan their schedules far in advance, he said. He wanted a significant increase in participants for both events. 

The first time both were hosted in town came to fruition as the planners had hoped.

"What a stretch for Greencastle," Flannery said, "and boy, did it ever work. I'm ecstatic."

McCauley was just as enthusiastic about the venture, which was somewhat of a risk.

"This is the best small town in America, and today we're putting our best foot forward.

This exemplifies who we are. And we couldn't do it without the countless volunteers."

The next Pub Run and Craft Beer Festival has been scheduled for April 18, 2015.