Regardless of whether you’re a food groupie, a space fanatic, a craft beer connoisseur, or a family of four, I’ve scoured through a collection of the latest and greatest events in Athens this week to allow you more time to live what you love. My suggestions come from opportunities that uniquely define Athens County as a place to play and as a region full of cultural experiences that can only be found in Southeast Ohio.
That magical time of the year has finally rolled around again. It’s like Christmas in July, except for the gifts and candy. To most, it’s even better than gifts and sugary candy. Why? Because frosty cold beer that’s why! The 2015 Ohio Brew Week kicks off this week for 9 days packed with craft beers, ciders, and meads. There’s symposiums on the art of brewing as well as special guest speakers from all around the state. To kick things up to another level, it’s also Restaurant and Food Cart Week during Athens’ 30 Mile Meal month long celebration. There’s plenty to do all around town this week and I wouldn’t want you to miss out on the biggest events taking place! Take a look below to start planning how you’re going to get to them all.
If you’re from Athens County or taking the time to visit then you’ll want to take part in these 7 exciting events! Events are updated on a weekly basis. Check back next week for more unique listings you won’t find anywhere else.
Each year the organizers behind Ohio Brew Week enjoy beginning the week off in style, and when you’re talking about a festival entirely devoted to the various forms of craft brewing (beer, ciders, and meads) the only real way to start off is by a good ole’ fashioned keg tapping. This year’s keg tapping ceremony takes place at Jackie O’s Public House at 22 West Union Street. Jackie O’s is sure to be buzzing more than usual with the throngs of visitors this week trying to catch a glimpse of Athens’ ground zero in regards to local craft brewing. You may come for the ceremonial tapping of the keg, but once you catch a glimpse of Ohio’s FIRST craft brewery, Great Lakes Brewing Co.’s co-founder Pat Conway, and find out that you’re only a few minutes away from listening in on his keynote address; you’ll choose to stick around. Afterwards, the laughs and good cheers carry on at Ohio University’s Grover Center for an extended talk. You’ll want to find a cushy seat and make it your home for the duration of his speech. Mr. Conway will discuss his early days as Ohio’s premiere craft brewer, along with lessons learned and how to go about budding your own success in the ever growing industry of brewing. This is the official start to Ohio Brew Week’s tenth anniversary and guests will also be treated to beer tastings, grab a glass and join the fun!
What do you find when two of Athens’ newest brewers open up shop as the biggest brew festival in the state kicks off? Well, a ton of delicious never before seen beers on tap. More importantly however, (debatably more important in some social circles) for this blogs sake, a united community of craft brewers that are more than willing to support one another as they pass their knowledge and skills onto us. On Wednesday, as we’re tasting our way into the middle of Brew Week, Devil’s Kettle Brewing will be hosting a panel of new brewers to the region as well as some from throughout the state. They’ll discuss the hops to finished fizz story about the ups and downs of being the new dogs in town along with the challenges of opening a brewery in this growingly competitive market. Panelists include Cameron Fuller, Devil’s Kettle owner; Sean White and Jimmy Stockwell, co-owners of Little Fish Brewing in Athens; Fred Lee of Actual Brewing in Columbus; and Jason Warren of Multiple Brewing in Nelsonville. There’s sure to be a lot of insight passed around accompanied with the laughs and toasts to good friends and family!
Ohio Brew-BQ 7/17
This year, you’ll be able to find grilled meats and farm-to-table meals as part of Athens 30 Mile Meal Month during Ohio Brew Week. Take a stroll down West Union Street, while passing Jackie O’s and the Smiling Skull, to the Athens Train Depot to get in on the charred goodness of grilled meats paired nicely with many of our Ohio Brew favorites! An Athens classic, The Wild Honeybee’s, are performing live music to make for a rounded evening of entertainment, mouth-watering grilled goodness, and a beer garden lusciously overflowing with your favorite craft brewers including: Great Lakes Brewing Co, Elevator Brewing Co., Mt. Carmel Brewing Co, Thirsty Dog Brewing Co, Portsmouth Brewing Co, and Classic Brands.
Stow your butterfly net away because this walk isn’t a hands on butterfly hunt, it’s an event of another nature. This time around, enjoy a summertime walk through the prairie habitats on Appalachia Ohio’s Alliance demonstration site while viewing and learning about butterflies and their habitat needs. The butterfly walk is a great opportunity for kids and children of all ages to get into the outdoors and learn valuable lessons about sustainable living and the work that goes into protecting the inhabitants of Ohio’s rural forests. Lead by Cheryl Harner and Jim Davidson, two well-know friends of AOA and who work diligently to spread the good word of mother nature and the benefits that conservation has on the world around us. You won’t find this much dedication to the environment anywhere else but Athens.
It’s gone just as quickly as it came through. Ohio Brew Week‘s closing festival and celebration is the last of this year’s annual festival and often times the most looked forward too. It’s always sad to see it leave, but as the old saying goes, if you love something you must set it free. With this year’s festival on track to be the biggest and best yet, OBW’s Last call will see Court Street closed down from Washington St. to Carpenter St. to allow our guests and visitors one last chance to soak up the laughs and good vibes emanating off Court. You’ll want to latch onto your friends and families because we’re in for quite a turn out! With over 25 craft brewers lining the streets of Athens, you’re guaranteed to find that new and indescribable combination of flavors with a taste that sticks in your mind and will have you licking up the last drops of the barrel. New this year is a rides area full of carnival games and activities perfect for keeping the kids almost as happy as you. Grab your partner or friends (or both) and load up the car and be sure to make your way to Ohio Brew Week’s Last Call on Court!
Real Food, Real Local Conference 7/13 – 7/16
Enough about Brew Week, let’s focus on something we all know and love: FOOD! This week marks the beginning of the 4th Annual “Real Food Real Local” Conference at ACEnet’s kitchen and the Eclipse Company store in The Plains. The 30 Mile Meal started it’s early days as a grass roots campaign to unite the community with their local farmers and to educate people in sustainable living. It all began only several years ago and went from earning it’s own day of the week to an entire month dedicated to the benefits that the 30 Mile Meal provides for our local community. It’s a lot of fun for those that attend and are interested and of course, there’s going to be a lot of talk about food. Why stop at just talking about it? With it being a food based conference, there’s going to be much to taste about! Whether you’re a farmer, processor, involved with farmers markets or retail markets, a food entrepreneur, advocate or consumer—this four day event will invigorate you with fresh ideas, proven approaches, great connections, and plenty of interaction and fun.
Spectators are put on edge as they anxiously await to see if International Space University’s 2015 participants’ rockets will live up to expectations and survive the launch. Questions like “will the rocket attain the correct altitude” and “will the payload be returned safely” race through the crowds’ jittering minds. This is a must-see for space enthusiasts and families of all ages.
If you can’t make the events this week and still want the experience, there’s no need to worry. There are several ongoing events I’ve listed to keep the good times rollin’ well after the work week is through.
Quilt National 2015 Now through 9/7
Stop by the Dairy Barn Arts Center to immerse yourself into the world of artistic quilting. The exhibit at Quilt National displays a reverence for the lessons taught by the makers of the heritage quilts. You may go for the quilts, but you’ll stay for the culture. The Dairy Barn is an Athens’ icon and has helped shape the regions’ art scene for decades and we’re sure that its continued influence will last for decades to come.
Chesterhill Produce Auction, Mondays and Thursdays through October
The Chesterhill Produce Auction was born from nothing more than an idea. An idea to remind a community about the importance of farming and cooperation. As the idea grew and the auction began to increase in popularity, the CPA brought to light the importance of food in a community. Food brings people together. Chesterhill is a must see for those interested in self-sustainable living and wholesome organic produce. It’s an ideal one-stop shop for those that love to can and preserve their food. Here’s a video for CPA’s full story.
Athens Farmers Market Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays
The Athens Farmers Market remains one of the state’s largest outdoor markets as well as an Athens’ staple. It’s a must see for those searching for fresh, local produce and the area’s passionate culture. You’ll not only find culture, but friendly conversation and a basket full of knowledge on a variety of growing techniques as well as the farmers’ own tips and tricks on preparing their goods for your dinner table.
Nelsonville Farmers Market, Saturdays through October
Stroll through the Nelsonville Farmers’ Market to purchase the season’s freshest produce, yummy baked goods and a couple of plants for your own vegetable garden.
30 Mile Meal Month through July | Week 2 Restaurant & Food Truck Week
Join us for a month-long celebration of the locally produced foods that make Athens County such a delicious place to be. Each week highlights a theme that centers around the people who grow, sell and cook food and spirits within a 30-mile radius of Athens, Ohio. July is when we pay our appreciations towards those that make the movement possible. Restaurants all around town are focusing their efforts on the local and delicious foods that can be found in the hills and fields of Athens County. The close-knit community and efforts put forward towards sustainable living is the epicenter of the regions culture. You won’t want to leave unless you’ve tried a dish grown in the rich soil of Athens, Ohio!
Love Athens too? Check out these great upcoming events
Stuart’s is once again able to bring the star-studded power of musician, Keb’ Mo’ to Athens County and the City of Nelsonville! Keep an eye out for more information as the date draws closer because with a recording sheet that’s longer than his guitar, Keb’ Mo’ provides a thrilling night of musical entertainment at the Opera House. He’ll be bringing familiar songs that can remind you of B.B. King, the Dixie Chicks, and Joe Cocker. He’s collaborated with a host of other artists including Bonnie Raitt and Buddy Guy. Book your seats early because you won’t want to miss his understated excellence with this live performance!
Nick’s Pic’ of the Week
Think you’ve got something that’s uniquely Athens? If so, send in your photos! At the beginning of each week, I’ll have updates on the newest weekly events along with a signature Athen’s photo you won’t find anywhere else. Photos can be sent by email or by combining #AthensOhio and #NicksNifty7 through the Athens Visitors Bureau’s Twitter or Instagram.
If you have any questions, comments or concerns regarding the latest events taking place throughout Athens County, please feel free to contact me at Nick.firstname.lastname@example.org. New events and suggestions can also be submitted for consideration under our Events Submission page and will appear on AthensOhio.com under our events section.