COMSTOCK PARK, MI – The Michigan Brewers Guild has postponed this weekend’s Winter Beer Festival by one week due to forecasts of record flooding at Fifth Third Ballpark.
The festival will now be held on Friday, March 2 and Saturday, March 3, organizers said in an announcement on Thursday, Feb. 22. All tickets already purchased will be honored on the respective Friday and Saturday of the new weekend.
The guild’s board of directors decided to push back the festival after forecasters said the Grand River, which flows next to Fifth Third Ballpark, would reach or exceed the record flood levels it achieved in 2013, when flooding covered the venue’s parking lots.
“After meeting with the Whitecaps staff and taking into consideration information provided to us by the National Weather Service and the Kent County Emergency Management, the MBG Board of Directors has decided to take cautious approach and postpone the festival by a week to allow the Grand River to drop below the flood stage,” the guild said in a news release.
“We reviewed several contingency plans and discussed multiple options before coming to this decision,” said Executive Director Scott Graham. “But in the end the safety of our attendees, our breweries and volunteers is of utmost concern.”
The event sponsors said they also were concerned about a rain forecast for Friday, Feb. 23.
“That will contribute to the levels of the Grand River, which is expected to crest its 18-foot flood stage on Friday afternoon and rise as much as three feet above that over the course of the weekend.”
The guild said its expects most of its 142 member breweries will participate in the rescheduled date. The event attracts about 9,000 beer enthusiasts.