Two years ago, craft beers were added to the Sip Nebraska Festival, which was traditionally a wine-tasting event at Mahoney State Park. Last year, spirits from Nebraska distilleries were a new addition. This year’s May 10-11 event simply offered more tastings of everything.
“This year, we had more Nebraska wine (10), craft beer (10) and distillery (5) vendors than ever before,” said Stacy Leners, vice president of event organizer Blur Parties. “We also added some new larger bands – Simplicated Band and GhetoBlaster. Both were big hits!”
Hundreds of guests sampled over 100 Nebraska wines, craft beers and distilled spirits. Code Beer Co. of Lincoln, James Arthur Vineyards of Raymond and Junto Wine of Seward were among many familiar producers offering tastings at the event.
The number of attendees was about the same as last year, Leners said. “We believe it was the weather factor keeping last-minute buyers away.”
While the weather was cloudy, windy and a bit chilly, A Warmer Day’s nonprofit team collected over 200 coats and other apparel to help warm Nebraskans in need. They gave away raffle tickets for prizes donated by vendors to those who donated clothing.
Also new this year was a blind tasting competition for prizes. “Our guests really loved that,” Leners said. “Next year, we’ll be increasing the competition size and time slots.”
In addition to bands performing on stage in the park’s pavilion, dance lessons were offered in front of the stage at 6:30 p.m. both days. Guests joined in educational sessions on a variety of wine, beer and food topics. Examples were how to make waffles and mimosas, led by presenters from Heavenly Waffles and James Arthur Vineyards; and pairing wines with chocolates, led by speakers from Broken Arrow Cellars and Lulubee Artisanal Chocolates.
Over 30 artisan and craft vendors offered samples and sales to event-goers. Additional activities were a bag toss game, washers, badminton and Bimini ring toss, and jumbo games like Jenga, Connect 4 and hay bale bowling. Guests also enjoyed trolley tours of the park, fire pits and s’mores at sunset, and, of course, the beautiful scenery of Mahoney State Park.