Southlake Journal

May 19, 2014

Beer and cheer flow at Grapevine’s 30th Annual Main Street Days

Participating breweries came from across the country.

The city tapped into fun last weekend in celebration of Grapevine’s 30th Annual Main Street Days: A Craft Brew Experience.

The three-day festival, which offered a special emphasis on craft brews and tasting experiences, opened Friday in Historic Downtown Grapevine with a ceremonial cask keg tapping.

“If I make a mistake, you all get wet,” said Mayor William D. Tate, who got into the spirit of things as he tapped into “a 200-year-old tradition older than the city itself.”

Dennis Wehrmann, owner and brewmaster of Franconia Brewing Company in McKinney, delivered the 200-year-old wooden ceremonial keg. The keg, originated in Germany, has been tapped at numerous special events and festivals.

The cask was filled with Franconia’s Mearzen, a traditional amber lager. Märzen, meaning March beer in German, was brewed during the middle ages to last through the summer months.

Wehrmann comes from a long brewing heritage. His great-great-grandfather founded Frankenbreu, a brewery in Tanna, Germany, in 1800, and many of his family members have studied and worked in the brewing industry. The ceremonial cask keg is one of the originals from Wehrmann’s family’s brewery. Wehrmann moved from Nuremberg to Texas, opening Franconia in 2008.

This year’s festival offered educational background on beer, including cask keg tappings.

Promoters said that a cask keg differs from a typical keg in that a cask is naturally carbonated and pulled out of the vessel with a gravity faucet while kegs are typically force carbonated with a bottle of carbon dioxide, and then pushed with carbon dioxide. Once tapped, casks allow the beer to come in contact with oxygen. Therefore, the beer must be drunk within a matter of days before it spoils.

In addition to breweries from Texas, breweries were represented from California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Michigan and Oregon.

A family of three came dressed for the beer theme. Christian and Cheryl Cypert were wearing outfits from their Bavarian folk dance group — Texanischer Schuhplattler Verein d’Holzar — and 5-year-old daughter Gretchen wore similar garb.

“I got involved about 12 or 13 years ago because I couldn’t polka or dance and I love German festivals,” said Cypert, president of the Dallas-based group. “My wife dances, too, and Gretchen is learning.”

Gretchen, showing how to twirl in her cute outfit, had a grand time, saying, “It’s fun.”

A big draw was the Junior Model Building competition hosted by Legoland Discovery Center in Grapevine. The competition was judged in two age categories, 5-to-8-year-olds and 9-to-12-year-olds.

A winner from each category won the title of “2014 Legoland Discovery Center Junior Model Builder” and will have their build displayed at the Grapevine attraction for two weeks. Winners received a Lego trophy and passes to the local Legoland and Legoland California.

Winners in the 5-8 age group: first, James Boyd; second, Cooper Gardner; and third, Callie Gardner.

Winners in the 9-12 age group: first, Indiana High; second, Slade Stallings; and third, Austin Parrish.

Other activities at the three-day festival included the Sea Life Aquarium touch tank, which was a highlight for Sasha Varnado, 20, who came to the festival Friday morning with friends and family. Varnado said her 2-year-old sister, Sadie Granbury, was having a great time because “she has a fascination with turtles and starfish.”

The festival featured the debut by JG Entertainment of the 1st Annual DFW ICON vocal competition.

As well as hopes of finding promising talent and launching the next big star, DFW ICON benefited Kidd’s Kids, the organization founded by the late Kidd Kraddick.

The microphones were given to singers between the ages of 7 and 24. Winner packages included recording, branding, social media, photo shoots, image consulting and scholarships.

Preliminary rounds were held at the Palace Theatre Friday and Saturday. Finals were held on the 30th main stage on May 18. Talent was placed in four categories grouped by ages 7-11, 12-15, 16-19 and 20-24.

Four category winners and one grand champion took home more than $20,000 in prizes. Talent was judged by some of the music industry’s top pros.

Out of 85 contestants, the judges narrowed it down to 32 finalists and one wild card. First place winners ages 7-11: McKinley Ream, 11, Sunnyvale; ages 13-15: Lauren Gehle, 15, Burleson; ages 16-19: Trevor Douglas, 16, Fort Worth; and ages 20-24: Tori Sloan, 20, Grapevine. The wild card contestant, Chloe Moore, 14, from Prosper, was selected grand champion winner.

“This year’s Main Street Days was a wonderful celebration in the heart of Historic Downtown Grapevine,” said festival chair Mike Meek. Added co-chair Debi Meek: “Throughout the weekend, large crowds enjoyed all of the events including the Craft Brew Experience, music and fun activities for the entire family.”

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