Thousands flock to Evanston for Brew Fest and Car Show

A couple of colorful attendees at the Evanston Brew Fest take a pause from drinking beer to notice and comment on a bald eagle flying overhead. (HERALD PHOTO/Sheila McGuire)

EVANSTON — One of Evanston’s busiest weekends of the year had thousands of people downtown on Saturday, July 20, for the annual Evanston Brew Fest and Main Street Car Show. 

Brew Fest, in its 11th year, again took place in historic Depot Square and featured two dozen breweries and live music by “Natural Causes.” 

Evanston Urban Renewal and Main Street Coordinator Jane Law said approximately 1,000 people attended Brew Fest, which is a fundraiser event for the Evanston Urban Renewal Agency and Roundhouse Restoration, Inc. The event hit a snag early on when the band ran into some electrical problems that interfered with the music for a brief period, but Law said once that was fixed everything ran smoothly. 

“The folks that attend Evanston Brew Fest come and just have a fun time. They’re a happy group,” said Law. “Once again, Natural Causes provided the crowd with great music, we had a great lineup of brews, good food, awesome volunteers, and another success in the books.” 

Main Street was closed to traffic for several blocks as cars and other vehicles, craft and food vendors and fundraising booths lined the streets for the Evanston Car Show. Event organizer Jonny Pentz said there were 174 vehicles on display for this year’s event and 30 entrants in the pin-up girl contest, which he said is the new record.

The car show also featured a mini bike race, in which Evanston Police Department Officer Cody Saloga emerged victorious in a match-up with Evanston Mayor Kent Williams. Pentz said the multiple various fundraising booths did well, with both the VFW and the American Legion raising about $500 apiece. 

Law said the weekend, which also featured live horse racing at Wyoming Downs and drag racing at Hypoxia Dragway, is huge for Evanston, with sold-out hotels and crowded restaurants.

“This day, I think, is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, day of the year for Evanston and has a huge economic impact for our community,” Law said.

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