Beer as a form of art: Beer-tasting event with artwork returns to Whitehall

The Arts Council of White Lake announced its second Artist-N-Beer event in Whitehall on Saturday, Aug. 23. (MLive File Photo)

The Arts Council of White Lake announced its second Artist-N-Beer event in Whitehall on Saturday, Aug. 23. (MLive File Photo)

By Tony Wittkowski | Reporter | MLive – Muskegon Chronicle

WHITEHALL, MI — Both art and beer will be on tap in Whitehall on Saturday, Aug. 23.

The Artist-N-Beer event is coming back to the White Lake area, but in a new venue. From 4-8 p.m. on Saturday, residents have the opportunity to buy artwork and wet their whistle behind the planned site of Fetch Brewing Company, located on 100 W. Colby St.

Kim Harsch, the executive director of the Arts Council of White Lake, said this will be the second time the Artist-N-Beer event will take place in Whitehall, as it has been one of the few events that has been focused around both beer and art.

“It’s going to be unique. There are a lot of beer-tasting events, not many focus on the art of beer-making,” she said. “Combining artwork with beer is a little bit of a unique experience, so we’re glad to have an event like this.”

Along with the craft beer, attendees will be able to browse artwork provided by ACWL artists and the Nuveen Center, as well as musical performances.

The new location is more equipped to host a beer–tasting event, as the council first held it in front of its office two years ago.

The event will include music from local musicians and is expected to be held every two years alternating with the area’s wine-tasting event.

“The last time (we had this event) was two years ago,” Harsch said. “We’ve been rotating it with a wine-tasting event. Two years ago we had about 140 attendees, but this year we are shooting for at least 200.”

Tickets can be purchased ahead of time for $30 in advance, while increasing in price to $35 at the gate. Harsch said tickets can be bought online at artswhitelake.org, where there is a limited amount of 200 tickets that will be sold.

Since grant funding doesn’t always cover costs for nonprofit groups, the money raised from the event goes toward supporting the Arts Council of White Lake operationally.

“We are really fortunate the committee is made of all volunteers from the community,” Harsch said. “We are really, really fortunate to have such support.”

One of the main intentions for this year’s Artist-N-Beer will be to educate the public on the process of making beer. Additionally, the beer selection will not be something the ordinary shopper would find at any local store.

Jennifer Hain, who runs the Fetch Brewing Company with her husband, Dan, is a member of the committee and is known for her extensive knowledge of beer.

When bringing this type of event to the public, Hain strategically handpicked people who were familiar with craft beer.

“There are actually quite a few beer connoisseurs in this area,” Hain said. “They are working directly with distributors to bring in unique styles and tastes. It will all be Michigan beer.”

Since their initial plans to open a brewing company in Whitehall, Hain became very familiar with the Arts Council of White Lake and decided to throw her hat in to helping with the community-wide event.

“They were looking to do an event that had been done two years ago,” Hain said. “With their art knowledge and our beer knowledge, it was a good pairing. Beer is a form of art, and bringing the artists into where you are doing the sampling of beers was a solution for raising funds.”

Tony Wittkowski is a staff reporter at MLive Muskegon Chronicle. Email him at twittkow@mlive.com and follow him on Facebook and on Twitter.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Aug. 17, 2014)

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White Lake Area Arts and Crafts Festival returns for Father’s Day weekend

By Tony Wittkowski | Reporter | MLive – Muskegon Chronicle

WHITEHALL, MI — The 36th Annual White Lake Area Arts and Crafts Festival is set to take place on Father’s Day weekend at Goodrich Park in Whitehall.

More than 75 artists will participate in the juried art show 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, June 14, and11 a.m.–4 p.m. on Sunday, June 15, at Goodrich Park, located on 100 N. Lake St.

Amy VanLoon, executive director for the White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, said the two-day event can be one of the White Lake area’s main summer attractions.

“It’s one of our bigger events, especially since it is two days long,” VanLoon said. “It makes it more worthwhile for the artists to set up and for those wanting to attend the event.”

Although the price to attend the event is free, spectators are able to purchase a variety of hand-made arts and crafts such as jewelry, ceramics, clothing, paintings and children’s toys.

“It is great for the locals to participate in as well as the tourists to come out and enjoy,” VanLoon said. “The location is beautiful and it is right on the water.”

VanLoon said the Chamber of Commerce has been putting the event on for the last 35 years and has continued its support of the festival, all while finding different entertainment for both days.

The lineup of musicians throughout the weekend is scheduled to include local favorite Mike Snell, The Edukators and Keith Scott playing acoustic Chicago blues.

“Some folks will only come down here to listen to Mike Snell and The Edukators,” VanLoon said. “So, we choose the musicians based on popular demand.”

A variety of food vendors will be there, serving pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, elephant ears, lemonade, candy, root beer floats and sundaes, kettle corn and crepes.

“It’s a nice wide array of music for people to come out and get a corn dog and sit and listen to some great music,” VanLoon said. “This year we are also going to have the children’s inflatables, and expand it to more kid activities so it is more family friendly.”

Tony Wittkowski is a staff reporter at MLive Muskegon Chronicle. Email him at twittkow@mlive.com and follow him on Facebook and on Twitter.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on June 10, 2014)