Ohio Craft Brewers Association serves up scares at Ale O’Ween

2016 Ale O’Ween contestants for “Day of the Dead” costume contest. Photo: Jim Witmer

By Lisa Bennett

Like many traditions before it, Halloween has seen changes in how it is celebrated over the years. What used to be a night of bobbing for apples (or donuts on strings as the case may be), carving pumpkins, and telling ghost stories by candlelight at the turn of the 20th century, has morphed into a blended holiday full of fun and frolic from various cultural traditions in the 21st century. Older traditions making a new comeback include elaborate costumes, Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations, Halloween feasts and parties—including masquerade parties as well as Halloween celebrations and Soirees with all the festive decorations and pageantry any ornamentalist would crave—and that is only the tip of the Halloween wand. Vintage Halloween traditions like lighting candles or planting mums to honor deceased loved ones, baking Halloween cookies, haunted treat hunts, mulled cider and doughnuts, and visits to graveyards to leave tokens of remembrance are just a few of the many family traditions being resurrected by people wanting to create cherished memories for their families. Great memories aren›t the only benefits the old traditions are creating. Profits for businesses are increasing every year.

Cashing In

Today, Halloween rivals other major holidays, including Christmas and Easter, in sales, with Americans spending a whopping $8.4 billion* last year—and that doesn›t include money spent on sewing and craft supplies used for costumes and decorations, foods like pumpkins, apples, gourds, and alcohol, which have become a holiday staple here in the midwest.

In fact, more and more businesses are cashing in on the new trends, including the Ohio Craft Brewers Association (OCBA). Founded in 2007, the Ohio Craft Brewers Association serves as a kind of industry watchdog. From combating any legislation that would harm small craft brewers, to helping to preserve the art of crafting beer, the Ohio Brewers association is a vital part of keeping the brewing community thriving. “We’re about to launch a student membership for anyone who is enrolled in brewing courses in the state of Ohio” says Executive Director, Mary MacDonald.

That’s only a small part of what they are doing. This year, OCBA is proudly hosting the very first public event held in the Steam Building in Dayton. The celebration, formerly known as “Dia De las Cervezas” (Day of Beer), is quickly becoming an annual favorite. There is so much to love! For starters, you can enjoy sipping delicious craft brews from thirty different craft breweries while enjoying music from live bands including AmpFibians and Team Void, says Tom Schaffer, Lutheran Minister and owner of Black Cloister Breweries, “I love Halloween, so this is especially fun for me.” adding, “We’ve been well received by Dayton, so this is a kind of way to give back.” If beer isn’t your thing, however, there are still lots of reasons to visit! For those who are feeling a little daring, take a peek into your future with a Tarot Card reading. Forgot your costume? Not to worry! You can get your face painted by renowned artist, “L. Heatherington”. Once you’re all painted, you can enter the costume contest. There are 5 categories to enter, including: Most traditional costume, scariest costume, best couples costume, laziest costume, and best Day of the Dead costume, says Mary MacDonald. “It’s really by crowd response, so if you come in wearing a costume and you want to win, you should bring a lot of friends with you to cheer for you and that will increase your odds of winning the costume contest.” There is even a 6th category for favorite server costume, so make sure you vote for the one you like the best! Of course, if you get hungry while you’re there, there will be plenty of food trucks at the event as well, including “The Drunken Waffle.” If you are an Ohio On Tap Participant, you can also rack up 5 bonus passport stamps toward prizes.

Perhaps the best part of all (as if there isn’t enough to love already!) is that by coming out, you will be part of history being made. Ale O’Ween will be the very first public event to be held in the new Steam Building in Dayton. The building, built by DP&L in 1907, functioned as the back-up power plant for Dayton until the mid-1980s when it closed down. It sat vacant for nearly 20 years before being purchased by John Riazzi of Riazzi Asset Management Company and MODALS Designs. Today, what was a dilapidated eyesore, has been refurbished and updated to include a brand new banquet facility, with two gorgeous levels. “It’s exciting to see it come to life in such a dynamic way” says Mary MacDonald. What better way to celebrate new life for an old building than with Ale O’Ween, a fabulous Halloween celebration? So, whether you’re looking to sample some great craft beers, have your fortune told, or just support a friend with a crazy costume, Ale O’Ween is the place to go this Oct. 21!

Ale O’Ween takes place on Oct. 21 at The Steam Plant in Dayton, 617 E. 3rd St. For more information or to buy tickets, please visit: http://www.OhioCraftBeer.org/

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Reach DCP freelance writer Lisa Bennett at LisaBennett@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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