One of the greatest bands from the 1990s and more than 400 craft and domestic beers will help ensure that one annual event will please all attendees, said one official.
Eve 6 will serve as the headline entertainment for the third annual Ales for Trails fundraiser, which will be held from 5:30-10 p.m. July 7 at Harry E. Kelley Park, 121 Riverfront Drive. The all-ages event will provide a unique, fun-filled experience for area residents and visitors via food trucks, a Baggo tournament, the Beer Fun Run, music and more, said Griffin Hanna, president for the festival.
"We work really, really hard to promote this and promote Fort Smith trails, but we don't pocket a dime from this festival. One hundred percent of the money raised goes for the trails," he said.
Set to raise money to connect the various Fort Smith trails together, Ales For Trails also will include product displays from local outdoor companies and more, Hanna said.
"It's difficult to pinpoint what 'craft' is when we are talking about craft beers, but there will be all sorts of varieties of beer at the festival," he said. "Really, just about any beer you can think of will be at this festival.
"For those who like beer but don't venture out too often, this is a great opportunity to sample things you normally wouldn't try," Hanna added. "We will explain where you can get these beers and how you can buy them whenever you like."
The Beer Fun Run will begin at 6 p.m. near the entrance of Harry E. Kelley Park and will require runners to drink three different beers throughout the race, he said. Medals will be given to participants, and the winner will receive a custom-made trophy, Hanna said.
"And Eve 6 should bring a really good attendance with them," he said. "Although there are other bigger names at other festivals, it's good that a 1990s, throwback band will bring their sounds here. I think they will bring a fun demographic of people.
"Eve 6 will bring back good memories," Hanna added. "And for those who weren't able to see them perform back in the 1990s, this will be the perfect opportunity."
Hanna's wife, Kathleen Hanna, agreed.
"We primarily are a beer festival with a purpose — to raise money for the trails — so I think it's nice to have some good music for people while they hang out with friends and try beers," said Kathleen Hanna, who is the marketing director for the festival. "We try to bring something new and different each year to get more people here and to raise more awareness.
"Eve 6 will be providing great music for people to sit down and listen, as if they were at a concert, and it will a great option for those looking for great background music," she added.
The event is for all ages, although those wishing to drink must have a photo ID. General admission tickets are $15, Brew Passes with beer-sampling mug are $40 and VIP Passes for premium beer, finger food and seating are $75. Tickets can be purchased at Ales4Trails.com and at the gate, Griffin Hanna said. Admission to the Beer Fun Run is $10.
"We have an internal goal for raising money that we don't really release to the public, but for last year's event, we raised more than $40,000," Griffin Hanna said. "That was pretty good, and we'd like to raise more this year."
The money raised will be used to connect "about 15 different trail systems" in Fort Smith, which will make Fort Smith and the surrounding area more appealing for residents, visitors and those individuals, families and companies thinking about relocating to Fort Smith, Griffin Hanna said.
"I'm a huge fan of trails being built in communities," he said. "There is an economic impact and a health impact when trails are built in cities. I would like to see more people getting off the couch and going outdoors, walking, running with their dogs and families and riding bikes. We want to promote a healthier outdoor lifestyle for Fort Smith."
These impacts can't be overstated, according to Griffin Hanna.
"When you build trails, a bunch of retailers will start building around those trails," he said. "This will impact the city in a more positive way. Plus, it's more fun to be in a city that has trails."
Editor's Note: This article has been modified from its original content. Griffin Hanna retracted his quote that he believed Ales for Trails was the only nonprofit beer festival.