Wintertime beer garden planned for downtown Bay City features Michigan brewers

The owners of two downtown Bay City businesses are banding together to bring what they hope will become a new wintertime tradition for the city.

The Winter Beer Garden at Unity Park is scheduled for the weekend of Friday, Dec. 21 and Saturday, Dec. 22. Should all go well, organizers hope to schedule more beer gardens for the remaining winter months of 2019.

The beer garden is the idea of Ferne Boutique’s Laura Horwath and Populace Coffee’s Andrew Heppner, borne from natural conversations about how to bring more people downtown during the winter months. They’ve since involved Alan Lafave of the Hell’s Half Mile Film & Music Festival.

"With the holidays and wintertime, we have the tree lighting but can we have other things to bring people downtown?" Horwath asks.

"If you look at other cities, they have attractions and other placemaking activities that transform their downtowns. We want to build on the momentum of holiday shopping and dining."

Organizers have rented three igloo-like plastic domes to be installed in Unity Park, where guests can reserve spots to drink and be merry. There will also be outdoor propane-fueled fire pits.

Drinks from four Michigan-based brands will be on tap, a list that includes Eastman’s Forgotten Ciders, North Peak Brewing Company, Oracle Brewing Co., and Tri City Brewing. Non-alcoholic drinks like hot chocolate and the 5-2-oh Food Truck will also be on hand.

While the event is free to attend, Horwath encourages people to buy their drink tickets now, which are available online. Net income from the drink tickets sold will be donated to the Hell’s Half Mile Film & Music Festival. Organizers also plan on making a contribution to the Good Samaritan Rescue Mission.

View the event online to learn more about the Winter Beer Garden at Unity Park.

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