Natalie Stewart tries out her beer pong skills during the third annual Great Okanagan Beer Festival, Saturday, May 13 at Waterfront Park. - Image Credit: Carli Berry/Capital News

Beer, beverages and bands

The third Great Okanagan Beer Festival was held Saturday at Waterfront Park

Kelowna residents Cheryl and Russ Hearne have been attending the Great Okanagan Beer Festival since it opened.

“Our son lives in Vancouver so him and his buddies all come down and we make an event out of it. Fortunately, the weather’s been great again so fingers crossed it stays that way,” said Russ.

Patrons from all over the Okanagan gathered to sip beer and enjoy live music at the third annual Great Okanagan Beer Festival Saturday, May 13 at Waterfront Park.

The pair are part of a group of 13 who all wore the same Hawaiian shirts in order to be able to find each other.

Russ said he was pleased to see the festival continues to expand.

“They keep growing, more breweries, this year they had a cider row which was interesting,” he said.

Carolyn prefers the ciders while Russ prefers the IPAs.

But not everyone in Kelowna knew about the previous beer festivals.

Resident Rastko Korac hadn’t heard of the beer fest before but decided it would be a good way to spend a Saturday.

He couldn’t decide on his favourite beer, but enjoys a good IPA.

Director of the festival Katt Frew said she expects to see between 2,500 to 3,000 people at the festival, with 60 different breweries arranged by region: Okanagan, Greater Vancouver, Vancouver Island, Port Moody, Across B.C., Our of Province and Ciderville.

The festival is originally based out of Whistler and each year continues to grow. This year had double the food trucks, four sets of live music, 20 more breweries and the new Cider section for cider lovers.

“We have a passion for taking the show on the road and we have a soft spot for Kelowna,” said Frew.

The festival is held to showcase community talents and interests, she said.

“I think community festivals are so vital to showcase local talent as it is. There’s so many foodies and craft and cider enthusiasts in the area, everyone loves to be together outside… (Kelowna) makes for an incredible setting.”

The beer fest wasn’t affected by the flooding evacuations and concerns, with a little rain but overall sunny weather.