The Rotary Club of Vienna, which each Memorial Day weekend with help from the town of Vienna’s government puts on the ViVa! Vienna! festival, is planning a beer-related event for this year’s festivities.
Club leaders at the Vienna Town Council’s Feb. 14 work session outlined the master plan for a “Backstage BrewFest at Vienna Firehouse,” which will be held on the parking lot behind the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department and run concurrently with the first two days of this year’s ViVa! Vienna! event.
“For at least the last 10 years, we’ve had numerous residents come up and ask, ‘Where is our brewfest area [or] beer garden?’” said A.J. Oskuie, the Rotary Club’s ViVa! Vienna! chairman, who then typically would refer the thirsty questioners to the nearby Vienna Inn.
Along with beer and wine, the club’s planned new event would provide live music, food vendors and/or trucks on May 28 and 29 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The layout plan shows three exits and welcome tents, 20 vendor stalls along Cherry Street, S.E., a performance stage on the parking lot’s edge Mill Street, S.E., and 20 more vendor positions and a beer tent on the parking lot’s southern boundary.
Three seating areas will be located in the parking lot’s center, and there will be clusters of four portable toilets each on opposite ends of the lot.
The event will feature two Vienna bands during the daytime hours each day, plus a better-known group in the evenings, Oskuie said. Jeff Bollettino, who runs Vienna School of Rock, will arrange for the bands, he added.
The club will provide security and staffing for the event, which will not necessitate any road closures. Rotarians also will coordinate with the fire station on the parking lot’s usage and obtain a Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority license to sell and serve alcohol.
Event organizers will notify surrounding neighbors about the festivities and break down the festival area the following Monday, instead of that Sunday evening, to minimize impacts on residents, Oskuie said.
Club leaders have vetted the proposal with Vienna Police Chief James Morris, who they said did not express any safety concerns about the event.
The Rotary Club will arrange for parking for fire-department personnel during the event and coordinate with the Vienna Police Department regarding shuttle service to and from the Vienna Metro station, with stops at Marshall Road Elementary School and the main ViVa! Vienna! area.
The club also will provide an Uber/Lyft pickup area and offer free rides if some patrons overindulge, said Oskuie, who did not expect such problems because of the event’s family-oriented nature.
ViVa! Vienna! will be held in its usual location along Church Street along either side of Center Street, N., and along some side streets. The BrewFest event will use the same footprint as the Taste of Vienna event, which this year will be held April 30, Oskuie said. Rotarians will assist with that event this year in order to get a feel for the BrewFest’s site, he said.
Rotary will give proceeds from the BrewFest and ViVa! Vienna! to about 70 organizations, including Vienna’s police, fire and parks-and-recreation departments. The club usually donates about $240,000 overall each year, and the BrewFest likely will enhance that, Oskuie said.
The club’s planned $6,000 contribution to the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department roughly will equal proceeds from one of the department’s bingo nights, Oskuie said.
Rotary leaders hope the BrewFest will become an annual event, he said.
“Potentially, this could be a real win-win,” agreed Council member Howard Springsteen.
“It looks fabulous. Congratulations,” added Council member Ed Somers.
This year’s BrewFest will be held on a Saturday and Sunday, but organizers decided not to operate on Memorial Day during the initial run, Oskuie said.
“I kept it KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid – because I want to make sure we do this the right way first, and then if we want to expand down the road, we might look at doing Monday,” he said.