Grovetoberfest will again live up to its name.
The annual craft beer festival, which regularly drew more than 15,000 people to Coconut Grove’s Peacock Park before a conflict with Miami’s parks division forced it to relocate, will return to the Grove this fall, organizers said last week.
“It’s back where it belongs,” said the event’s organizer and founder, Tony Albelo.
The festival, which was founded in the Grove six years ago, had been a boon to local businesses, behind only the annual Coconut Grove Arts Festival in attracting out-of-town revelers. That’s why Grove business leaders called losing the event a month before it was supposed to take place last year a “travesty.”
The event showcases hundreds of craft beers from Miami and around the country. Many breweries launch new beers at the festival, which draws a wide range of fans. Albelo said three breweries already said they would be brewing special beers for the event’s return to the Grove.
The issue started when Peacock Park, which hosts everything from youth-league soccer games to local sunbathers, had gotten torn up by back-to-back festivals that coincided with torrential October rains two years ago. That forced the city to pay more than $45,000 to re-sod the field, and it was unusable for more than two months.
A month before last year’s Grovetoberfest, the city created a regulation that any event could be canceled until the night before the event. Plus, large trucks could not be used to bring equipment onto the field. By the time Grovetoberfest’s organizer learned about the restrictions it was too late to buy insurance to protect his event or change how they set up the festival, so he moved the event six miles away to Miami Marine Stadium, which is paved.
Commissioner Ken Russell, whose District 2 includes Coconut Grove, helped broker the event’s return. This year, the city and Albelo negotiated using dollies and golf carts to bring in equipment and to keep heavy foot traffic off the susceptible center of the field.
Plus two other events that led to the perfect mud storm of 2015 were moved. The annual Coconut Grove Pumpkin Patch Festival moved to a neighboring Grove park, and the Coconut Grove Seafood Festival, which at one time was scheduled the day after the beer festival at Peacock Park, has permanently been moved to Miami Marine Stadium.
“The commissioner did what a commissioner is supposed to do: He found a happy medium for all parties,” Albelo said.