Photo by Robert Williams
The new Vergas Shops and Hops event will kick off on June 3 with a variety of beer tasting opportunities, sales at local businesses and a 5k event.

By Robert Williams


Vergas will kick off the summer season with a brand new event “Shops and Hops,” a shopping and craft beer street fest, on Saturday June 3.

Main Street downtown Vergas will be blocked off for 27 different shops and 15 breweries and distilleries from 1-5 p.m. Live music will be provided by artists Rachael Ianiro and Damian Anderson. Spanky’s and Tacqueria Escobar food trucks will also be on hand.

Bringing a craft beer festival was something that organizers saw working in other area towns and after last year’s Seltzer Stroll produced less attendees than anticipated, the move to craft beer was an easy choice for something new in town.

“This might be bigger than we can handle,” said co-chair and Liquor Store Manager Kyle Theisen. “If the weather’s nice we think it’s going to be very busy.”

All shop vendors will be local companies from downtown and around the area.

“The businesses that are invited are all active members of the Vergas Community Club,” said Theisen.

There will be more than just beer on hand with a vineyard and two distilleries participating to offer vodka-based Bloody Mary’s and other unique beverages.

“Shops and Hops sounds like it will be beer only, but I have one vineyard coming and two hard liquor distilleries coming,” said Theisen. “They know it’s a beer event, so they know they’re kind of going to be the oddballs out. The vineyard is going to be pouring a wine-based, pre-mixed drink. I only tried one of their products and it tasted exactly like peanut butter and jelly. I want that drink on the street. I don’t care what else you bring.”

All but two liquor and beer vendors are regional from within a two-hour drive from Vergas, many of which are new to the industry.

“This is awesome exposure for them to get their name out there,” said Theisen. “I did tell the brewers if they can bring a seltzer that would be great because seltzers go over well, so I think we’re going to have some homemade seltzers as well. It’s not just craft beer.”

A late addition to the lineup is the Marshmallow Foundation from Detroit Lakes, which will have rescue animals on hand for potential adopters.

In case of inclement weather, Shops and Hops will be held indoors at the Event Center. The current forecast is temperatures in the 80’s and partly cloudy.

Volunteers for two time slots are needed at gate admission and for ID checking, 1-3 p.m. and 3-5 p.m. Contact Sherri Hanson if interested.

Tickets for beer tasting are $25, which includes a commemorative mug to use at the various drink booths.

Maple Fest 5k run

The rescheduled 17th annual Maple Fest 5k run is scheduled for the morning of Shops and Hops beginning at 9 a.m.

The registration fee is $30 the day of the event. The top three runners in male, female, 55+ and youth categories will receive awards. The race is chipped and timed.

More information is available on the Vergas Community Club’s Facebook page.