Brewgaloo brings out plenty of beers, few masks among anticipated crowd of 25,000

Posted September 18, 2021 10:16 p.m. EDT

— Thousands of beer lovers united in downtown Raleigh on Saturday for the state’s largest craft beer festival in Brewgaloo.

The event made a return this year, allowing people to gather in-person again in the heart of downtown along Fayetteville Street.

Organizers implemented several changes to keep guests safe during the pandemic.

Representatives with Shop Local Raleigh said there were fewer breweries and food trucks than in past years to help with crowd control. They anticipated 25,000 guests, which is half of the people who usually attend the event.

Those who showed up hope the more contagious delta variant didn't turn this weekend's festivities into a COVID super spreader event.

Beer aficionado and Raleigh man Gary Kelly was glad to see the event return as an in-person experience.

"I like a lot of beer so I go to a lot of beer festivals," Kelly said.

Last year the popular festival shifted to a drive-thru format due to the pandemic. Organizer Jennifer Martin says safety was top-of-mind while planning this year’s festival.

"We’ll have hand sanitizer around the area," said Martin with Shop Local Raleigh.

It is recommended from the city and the state you wear your mask in crowds or you’re around people you don’t live with. Marsha Attmore appeared to be one of the few people wearing a mask in between sipping her drink.

"I think it’s important because I am older but I don’t want to not go places, even though I’m older," Attmore said.

People like James Tyus felt safe but kept from standing close to people outside his friend group.

"[I'm] really trying to stay away from the major crowd and walk on the periphery, that’s what we’re trying to do," Tyus said. "It’s definitely something we’re being conscious of and trying to be careful. but it’s a little bit tough when you’re trying to drink. You got to let the mask come down."

"We just try to be smart. you’ve got to keep living, but be smart," Attmore said.

Proof of vaccination wasn’t required and masks aren’t required outdoors. People who didn’t feel well were asked to stay home.​

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