The streets of Downtown Salina late Saturday afternoon and into the evening were full of foot traffic, as hundreds of people who love beer gathered for the “Salina on Tap” craft beer festival. The Meridian Media event, which was previously held at the Tony’s Pizza Events Center, this year moved outdoors, taking over two city blocks.
Meridian Media Promotions Director Hannah Holt approached the Salina City Commission earlier this year with the idea, then took all of the appropriate steps to make it happen.
Holt says “this event was the hardest undertaking I’ve ever gotten the opportunity to organize. From the legalities, to vendor organization, to rounding up volunteers, it was a labor of love. It’s one that we want to do over and over and over and over again.”
Salina On Tap featured four designated beer drinking areas, including three themed beer gardens:
- Main Stage Beer Garden
- Kansas Craft Brewers Beer Garden
- Oktoberfest Beer Garden
Additionally, there was the Pestinger Distributing Pavilion, showcasing the products that Pestinger Distributing is best known for.
Those who purchased a VIP ticket received access to the “Taste of Salina Food Tent” which featured what Meridian Media staff consider to be some of the best food items Salina such as:
- Hickory Hut
- Cozy Inn
- Blue Skye Brewery
Additionally, the Seraphim Bakery table located near the Oktoberfest Beer Garden had pretzels.
Nearly 1,000 people gathered to be part of Salina on Tap, either as a ticket buyer or a volunteer. Around 750 tickets were sold, and over 100 people volunteered to help at the event. Volunteers were able to select one of three non-profit organizations. Every volunteer that signed up, and showed up, earned the nonprofit $25. The non-profits included:
- Salina AMBUCS
- Salina Area United Way
- Love, Chloe Foundation
“Our volunteers were the only reason we got to have this event which is why we love allowing them to participate in the event too! ” Holt said. “We really cannot express how much we appreciate them. One came up to me after her shift ended and asked if it would be okay if she stayed and volunteered the second half too. It’s their enthusiasm that makes this event worth it.”
Though the over 120 beers at the event were the main attraction, there was more. Entertainment on the City Lights Stage included DJ Bearfoot from Wichita, followed by “The Champagne”, a cover band from Kansas City.
Color Me Crazy was onsite with an open air photobooth near the “Welcome to 67401” mural. Digital prints were available free of charge.
Bounce-a-Roo’s provided inflatables near the intersection of Santa Fe and Ash, and there were games to play at the intersection of Santa Fe and Iron. All these activities were free of .
For those who didn’t want to walk, Bouncer Express! provided a party bus with free transportation from one end of the beer gardens to the other.
Holt said this was the first of what she envisions as many more Salina on Tap events in Downtown Salina. “Salina on Tap got a big glow up and I’m going to equate it to getting your hair colored: your first session, you’re going to have a new, beautifully colored look. But every session after that gets to looking a little better and a little better. I can’t imagine how beautiful this event will look in another 10 years.”
Holt added “big thanks” to Pestinger Distributing.
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Photo: Center Pivot Restaurant and Brewery at Salina on Tap.