Third Annual St. Patty’s Day Parade Starts New Beer Brewing Tradition

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Fayetteville got into the St. Patrick's Day spirit on Saturday with the annual St. Patty's Day Parade and new beer brewing tradition.

The day started with Irish-themed floats, which made their way down the streets of downtown Fayetteville.

"This is our third year. First year we started off with just a parade and last year we had music on the plaza afterward and that was such a hit that we decided to do something more with it," said Parade Chairman Don Brown.

This year, parade organizers put together a Craft Beer Village.

"We all want good beer in the area and we want people to know Northwest Arkansas is a place where they can come and check out the different breweries," said Jeff Baldwin of Ozark Beer Company.

Ozark Beer Company was one of several breweries set up on the square. The Craft Beer Village also put Arkansas craft brewers to the test with the first-ever Stout Brewing Championship. The competition included home brewers and professional ones. In the professional category, Saddlebock Brewery in Springdale was named the first annual Stout Brewing Champion.

Baldwin said he served drink after drink and the addition of the Craft Beer Village is an economic boost for the area.

"I think with Benton County going wet it brought more attention. I think nationwide people just want to experience more creativity with what they drink," said Baldwin.

Organizers said after another successful year, they are looking forward to next year's St. Patrick's Day festivities already.