By Bob Uphues
After three years at the downtown train station, organizers of the annual HopStop craft beer festival in Riverside are moving the event to East Quincy Street in downtown Riverside on Aug. 25 from 5 to 8 p.m.
Not only will the change allow HopStop to accommodate more people, the change was also made to celebrate a couple of significant anniversaries. The Frederick Law Olmsted Society, which has been the main sponsor of the event since its beginning in 2015, is celebrating its 50th birthday this year.
And this year the Olmsted Society has partnered with the Riverside Arts Center, 32 E. Quincy St., which is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
A portion of East Quincy Street near the Riverside Arts Center will be blocked off for the event. Around 20 local craft beer and cider brewers and one distillery – Riverside's own Quincy Street Distillery -- will have tents along the street and also inside the Arts Center, whose galleries and sculpture garden will be open to the public during the event.
"Part of our goal is to bring people from the community into the [the Arts Center] and give them an opportunity to realize what a resource they are," said Rob Dixon, the Olmsted Society board member who is one of the lead organizers of the event.
The Riverside Arts Center is conducting an art auction during HopStop, with online bidding starting on Aug. 13. The auction preview party, which is free and open to the public, will be held Aug. 18 from 7 to 9 p.m., with the gallery open for auction viewing Aug. 21-25 from 1 to 5 p.m.
"I'm always amazed by the quality of the work," Dixon said. "People hopefully will realize that and bring home a little art as well."
In addition to the art auction, the Riverside Arts Center is also offering modern art classes for kids right after HopStop. The classes are for kids age 5 and up and will run from 5 to 7:30 p.m. There is an additional fee for classes.
See www.riversideartscenter.com for more info about the art auction and registration for kids' classes.
Organizers of this year's HopStop have also beefed up the live music offerings, with four bands playing throughout the festival, ranging from the jazz of Riverside-Brookfield High School student quintet The Saltimbanques to the "spaghetti western" rock of The Sundown Club to the punk-infused folk of The Dirty Green to the country harmony duo The Mountainaires.
"I think there's a little more interesting and wider variety of music," said Dixon. "It's a chance to sample a lot of great beer and listen to some great music. It'll be a feast for the senses."
Food will be provided by La Barra Ristorante and Flur Bakery, and organizers are again hoping HopStop can be a zero-waste event.
"It's important that a fairly large community event can be pulled off with 10 pounds of landfill waste of less," said Dixon. "We work with vendors so they can obtain compostable serving ware and food items that work well with that."
Last year, according to organizers, HopStop was able to divert almost 96 percent of its waste away from landfills. About 68 percent of waste was able to be recycled, with another 28 percent composted. Just 5 pounds of waste from last year's HopStop ended up in the landfill.
Tickets are on sale now, and presales are generally brisk. Tickets are $35 each (plus a $2.22 service fee) are available online through Aug. 18. After that, tickets are $40 (plus a $2.39 service fee).
You can also buy a special poster ticket ($45 plus $2.57 service fee) that includes admission plus a HopStop 2018 event poster commemorating the Olmsted Society and Arts Center anniversaries signed by artist Jennifer Taylor.
Proceeds from HopStop will benefit both the Olmsted Society and the Riverside Arts Center.