Here are some rough stats from a big beer festival that occurred this spring in Boston’s South End: 60 Massachusetts breweries; hundreds of locally brewed craft beers; and hundreds more paying customers who were happy to pack the place.
Oh, and exactly one baby: Mine.
The event was Power Beer Fest, the first beer festival hosted by the Massachusetts Brewers Guild that doubled as its only annual fundraiser. I wanted to check it out and support the cause, but there was a catch: My wife was away for the weekend, meaning our 18-month-old son was my sole responsibility.
Not to be stifled by parenthood, I did what any intrepid father would do: I jammed the stroller full of enough stuff to keep a daycare up and running for a week and I brought the little bugger with me.
I had some reservations. It was a hot day. We were taking public transportation to get there, a headache without a small child in tow. Most of all, though, I was worried the logistics just wouldn’t work, that I’d be the annoying guy pushing a stroller through a sea of people like an icebreaker desperately seeking dry land. What if children weren’t allowed, had I even checked? What if he got a sunburn? Does a stroller fit inside a Porta Potty? (Update: It does.) What if he cries the whole time? What if I cry the whole time?
I knew attempting this was a bit of a gamble, but I wasn’t expecting to be the only parent there who’d brought their child along. During my session at least, that’s exactly what happened. And you know what? Everyone loved it.
The beer community as a general rule is an overly amicable lot. But our experience at this beer festival went above and beyond. Comments and high-fives abounded, I was told I was brave more than a handful of times, my son was (jokingly?) offered a beer more than once, too. We couldn’t have felt more welcome; and for my son’s first-ever beer festival, that means a lot to me.
It also means it certainly won’t be his last. He’s coming with me to the next one and the one after that. Whether the wife is away or not.