By Pat Maurer
The third annual Clare BrewFest, sponsored by Clare Rotary, was a great success according to BrewFest Committee Chair Bret Cook.
The event attracted nearly 1,000 to Clare to taste the best Michigan has to offer, and Cook said, “Based on the preliminary numbers, we should have raised more than enough to pay for a new K-9 police dog.
About $8,500 was needed for the purchase, which will pay to replace Clare Police Chief and K-9 Officer Brian Gregory’s partner “Swiper.”
Both Gregory and eleven-year-old Swiper will both be retiring as K-9 officers at the end of the year. “It is a young man’s position,” he said, “and we are both ready to retire.” Gregory, who also owns and operates Northern Michigan K-9, will donate the 6-8 week training for the new K-9 dog.
A new police dog, probably a German Shepard, Gregory said, will be purchased from Europe and trained as a dual-purpose dog here for narcotics detection, tracking and other duties.
A new K-9 Officer and dog handler will be named at a later date.
The numbers aren’t all in yet, but any extra funds raised by the BrewFest will go towards other Rotary fundraisers including scholarships, Cook said.
The event, held on Fourth Street at the future historic Clare depot location, featured 27 Michigan Breweries and Michigan Wineries with more than 130 samples available to taste. Entertainment was provided by the Kari Lynch Band and Third Coast Steel Band.
About 100 of the attendees came to the special fundraiser from Owosso on the Steam Railroading Institute train, Cook said. “They have said they plan to come again next year,” he added. “And, they will bring their historic steam engine too.”
Cook said the event brought many people into the downtown area to shop and eat as well. “We have been hearing that businesses were busy,” he said.
Rotary members and about 120 area volunteers manned the event this year. “We really appreciate their help and especially all the help from Clare City’s Al Jessup and the DPW crew who helped set it all up.”
The BrewFest this year was a stand-alone event. Next year’s event has been tentatively set for Saturday, August 16, 2014.