21st Hanover Beer Festival Report

10th and 11th October 2008

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Firstly, what a great success!

When Steve (Hanover Community Association Chair) and Pam (Hanover Community Association Treasurer) handed me the Beer Festival folder at the start of September with a production schedule saying what should be organised 3 months before, I nearly had a baby! I regrouped my thoughts, looked at the challenge ahead and said to myself that the show must go on especially after Hanover Day being cancelled this year.

Structures

This year we introduced a new type of Marquee - a clear-span design with enough height on it so we could fit the beer stillage inside. It made the bar more accessible for our lovely punters and I only received good feedback about the tent.

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The barrel stillage and bar was also a new design - we like to keep the ACA scaffolding crew on their toes! The bar was slimmed down so instead of using tables like last year we just had one scaffolding plank running across the width of the bar (the idea being that there would be more room for the public). The design looked great on paper but was a bit tight for our wonderful volunteer staff, although it was a good excuse for them to get cosy with each other! The great thing about new ideas is there are always little tweaks you can play with in the years to come, and organising the event has opened up many new avenues of exploration.

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Music

This was a sensitive area for introduction this year as we have neighbours very close to the garden and traditionally the Beer Fest is an event where people come together and have a good old natter, a tradition we never want to deviate away from.

Those of you who experienced the Family Friendly session on Saturday afternoon were entertained by the delightful Brighton Peace Choir (Little darlings dressed in oversized t-shirts singing their little hearts out!)

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The musical entertainment early on Saturday evening was supplied by Aileen playing a beautiful, touching and expressive mix on the keys and Daniel folking things up. I would like to thank the brilliantly spirited lady going by the name of Jackie Chase who pulled all of the melodious activities together in such a short time frame. Call her at The Under The Bridge Studios for any of her brilliant muso's on 07799 564 620.

Games 

Fresh this year were the pub games in the garden and in the lower hall which I think a lot of you enjoyed. I experienced a couple playing a very intense game of giant connect 4; you could cut the atmosphere with a knife! They were however very sporting and shook hands after the game - I hope the winner was bought a pint!

BBQ 

I hope many of you tried a delicious veggie or beef burger when you got the munchies? I had a chilli burger and it rocked! The barbeque was a little tucked away but more of you were made aware of the scrumptious tucker when the marquee wall was opened.

Stamped but not stumped!

Our stamp for knowing who had paid on entry got stolen by some little blighters on the Friday night! Lisa Chapman came to the rescue and retrieved it - Thank You Lisa!

Atmosphere

Once again the atmosphere was brilliant, I loved walking around the place with all the smiles and laughter and dodging the wobbly folk. It was my Birthday on Saturday so I had the night off and what better place to bring my friends - we had a great time tucked away on a bench near the bird bath. As a child I always wished that my birthday was in the summer because your activities are practically limitless but the weather really did make the event, for me, my friends and all of us at the Hanover Centre.

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Volunteers

This whole event depends on volunteers who have been absolute stars, and they have a great time doing it. I would really like next year for more of you to come forward and help us out, we reward you for your efforts and you get first dibs on the beers! If you would like to share a few hours with us next year drop us a line.


Suggestion Box

As some parts of this year's event were new, we were keen to get some feed back on how you thought it went. There were a massive amount of you who wanted giant Jenga! Watch this space!

There was a suggestion that the beer should be free - in your dreams! Some of the kids wanted Punch & Judy and a Star Wars show! We did run out of beer and at the very end we were only serving stout, so maybe we should order more next year.

We believe that this is your event, and we are always looking to improve it for you. If you missed the suggestion box and have a comment to make please phone or e-mail.


Big Thanks

I really enjoyed being part of the organising group this year and there are many people to thank but I would like to give an extra big thanks to Steve & Pam Chapman who have worked so extremely hard and made working this gig an absolute pleasure, and also my girlfriend for putting up with my late nights and early mornings. Roll on next year!

Cheers - Iain Andrews - Hanover Centre Co-ordinator

if you have any comments about the beer festivals future or would like to volunteer for 2009 please ring 01273 694 873 or e-mail hanover.association@ntlworld.com   

A note from the Treasurer

The Hanover Beer Festival just got better - thank you everyone! We thrive on the support and goodwill of local people and businesses, and didn't you come up trumps for this, our 21st Annual Hanover Beer Festival. Our time and resources were stretched throughout the summer keeping the Hanover Centre open without our usual staff team, and then just as Iain started work at the Centre and on organising our major fundraising event, the news headlines were obsessed with world economics. It was a bit of a setback when several of our regular business sponsors told me they couldn't be as generous in 2008 as they'd been in previous years. I didn't have time to find lots of new sponsors, so I decided to concentrate on other aspects of the event (such as organising volunteer rotas) until the financial gloom lifted. But it didn't - every day the news got worse. Despite that many of our regular sponsors - and a few new faces - chipped in and we're very grateful to all of you. And many thanks to the people and businesses who've already put their names on the list for next time.

Please do let me know if you know anyone who may like to support HCA in future. There's no membership criteria and we have no scruples - we even allowed a couple of dogs to sponsor barrels this time - Bertie with Ramsgate Dogbolter and Nina with Shardlow Whistleblower. (In truth, their humans stumped up the cash and neither of them made it to the sponsors' preview, but you get the drift...)

And what a brilliant bunch of unpaid staff! It's always fun being involved in happy community events but this year was particularly special. Lots of people had experience from previous years, some were first-timers, and they all worked well together to make this year's festival such great nights out for everyone who managed to get a ticket.

And so to the roll of honour, and apologies if I've missed anyone or mis-spelt your name:

Ric Blow for the design; Matt from the Evening Star for taking charge of choosing, ordering and taking care of all the beers, ciders and perries with the aid of chocks hired from CAMRA; Barrie Alderton & HR Property Management for sponsoring the souvenir glasses; the sponsoring pubs (The Greys, The Geese, Dover Castle, Sir Charles Napier, Lord Nelson and Evening Star); Brian at Positive Exposure for the Tshirts; Alan & Graham of ACA scaffolding and Ian of Brighton Marquees for the structure and stillage; BlowUp for printing posters, tickets and tokens; Resource Centre for printing programmes and the loan of games and equipment; Harmony in the Community for all the help with production - overnight beerwatch, eco lighting, gazebos, mats etc, etc; Henry Butler for the excellent wine; Peter's Kitchen from the Dover for the food; Jem from the Napier for help with the family session; AJ from the Geese for the tombola; everyone at the pubs who sold tickets (The Greys, Sir Charles Napier, Dover Castle, Evening Star, and The Geese); Eddie for the staging; Jackie for the music; and St John's Ambulance. Also all our other barrel sponsors, helpers and volunteers (not mentioned so far, and in no particular order) including Church of the Annunciation; Wheeler's Estate Agents; Brightel Datanet; Inside & Out; Lisa; Laura; Sea Breeze; Nancy Platts (Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Brighton Pavilion); Hanover & Elm Grove Green Councillors; Si; Kath; Matt; Neil; Duncan; Alexia; Jane; Lois; Toni; Sue; Tony; Ben; Jo; Keith; Nick; Kristoff; Miriam; Jackie; Martin; Stuart; Rupert; Andrew; Anne; Chris; Eleanor; Scott; Jamie; Chas; Mary; Nicky; Steve; Simon; Jill; Michael; Jan; Bev; Simon; John; Steve; Pam; and Steve and Nancy. And finally - Iain - as we said on the barrel - Happy Birthday, welcome to Hanover and Cheers!