Willow Lawn is throwing a craft beer party

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HENRICO, Va. — The Craft Beer Harvest is not just another chance to sample local beer, it’s an event that speaks to Willow Lawn’s revitalization and repackaging as a community spot. If you haven’t driven, bussed, walked or biked over to the 59-year-old mall recently to see how it has transformed, the Craft Beer Harvest is a perfect opportunity.

The event takes place at “the square,” an outdoor plaza used for seasonal events. Most of the local merchants at the mall plan to participate, offering samples and interactive chances for product giveaways. Yes, that means Duck Donuts will have samples.

Brown Distributing will be on hand with 15 craft brew from local and regional breweries.

Willow Lawn restaurants, which includes American Tap Room, Duck Donuts,  Zoës Kitchen, Family Meal, and Travinia Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar, will have samples, as well as a selection of their respective menus available.

The cost of entry is two cans of non-perishable canned goods, as the event is a benefit for FeedMore. If you want to participate in the German style stein-holding contest, the entry is $10 — and that also goes to FeedMore. There will be a glass available for purchase, as well as samples and full pours for sale.

Aside from imbibing and feasting, there will also be bluegrass music from the Jackass Flats, and a kids’ zone filled with family-friendly games, balloon art, and face painting.

Last year around 2,500 people attended (it was called Craft Beer Fever) and organizers hope for more this year, especially with the weather being so splendid.

The Willow Lawn revamp isn’t over, there are planned upgrades to the stage and kids equipment.

The focus has been to “make it more of a gathering place instead of just a shopping center,” said Brendan Howard, with Rocket Pop media.

Almost every month there has been an event, like the kid-centric event “Mommy and Me,” which occurs on the second Wednesday every month. Previously the “Wine and Whiskers” event drew 3,000 attendees.

The beer festival runs from 6-9 p.m., on Friday, Nov. 6.