The Decatur Beer Festival returns from its two-year hiatus this weekend with a new name and a more intimate tasting experience.
The festival, now known as Simply Us Doing Our Share, or SUDS, will be held this Saturday, Oct. 15, from noon until 4 p.m. at Legacy Park in Decatur.
The revival of the event was an opportunity to reassess, organizers said. The festival will be smaller and more curated than previous years, with ticket sales capped at 1,500 rather than 5,000.
“We’re trying to raise the bar — not on the quantity, but on the quality,” said Mike Gallagher of Brick Store Pub, one of the organizers and an original founder of the festival back in 1998.
Gallagher said the festival was about “making people feel welcomed and cared for and trying to give back to our community.”
“We’re going to serve you beer and delicious food, but it’s just an excuse to gather, have some fun, create some revenue for the nonprofits in our community and make you feel good and welcome,” he said.
The event will feature beers from more than 70 independent breweries and food from local chefs, including some from the Refugee Women’s Network Private Chefs Club. Featured musical artists are Penelope Road and Bogey, Blacktop Rockets and The Viceroy.
The proceeds will benefit local nonprofits through Legacy Decatur, the umbrella nonprofit organization managing the city’s ambitious plan to transform Legacy Park — the 77-acre site of the former United Methodist Children’s Home — into greenspace, community amenities and affordable housing.
Despite the reduced attendance, Gallagher said SUDS aims to raise $35,000 to $45,000 for the organization. He said to date, the event has raised $1.7 million for local charitable organizations.
Lyn Menne, Legacy Decatur’s executive director and the former downtown development director for the city, has been involved in the festival since its debut over 20 years ago.
“It started as a group of local restaurant owners,” Menne said. “It really put Decatur on the map.”
Madeleine Henner, Legacy Decatur’s director of programs, called the festival one of Decatur’s iconic events.
“It really was an important way for people to come together and celebrate the community, as well as raise important funds for really important causes,” she said.