A blustery Saturday afternoon wasn’t enough to turn a record 684 beer lovers away from the Prairie Brewfest at Purgatory Creek Park in Eden Prairie, where the Eden Prairie Community Foundation held its annual fundraiser and celebration of spirits on Sept. 7.
Twenty-two craft brewers and two vintners served their libations to an eager crowd. In a corridor between two rows of tents, the drinkers were packed so tightly it was difficult to tell where a line ended and where the crowd began.
The line to Fat Pants’ tent, Eden Prairie’s first taproom at 8335 Crystal View Road, was consistently the longest through the afternoon, even though they weren’t serving beer — the license hadn’t come through yet, said Elizabeth Anderson, co-owner and operations manager. The line was to spin a wheel for a chance to win a Fat Pants T-shirt, and sporadic cheers rose above the crowd as attendees achieved a winning spin.
“It’s fun to be out in the community,” Anderson said.
Local elected officials, from City Council members PG Narayanan and Brad Aho to State Rep. Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn, mingled with constituents as Brewfest attendees voted on which of four nonprofits should receive the largest grant from the Eden Prairie Community Foundation.
Meals on Wheels took home $2,000 for new food delivery bags, READY! for Kindergarten received $1,000 for parent training sessions, PeopleFest! got $600 for next year’s event, and Friends of the Eden Prairie Library took home $400 to build a new rain garden, said Mark Weber, the EPCF’s executive director.