Midd Summer Festival draws 1,700

MIDDLEBURY — Whether it was the promise of warm and sunny weather, live music or ample wine, beer and cheese samples, people turned out in downtown Middlebury in droves on Saturday to attend the inaugural Midd Summer Festival.
According to event organizers, the celebration of Vermont products was a smashing success.
“It definitely exceeded expectations — both mine and, I think, a lot of other people,” said Bryan Phelps, owner of Noonie Deli in Middlebury and a member of the Better Middlebury Partnership (BMP), which staged the event.
The festival drew more than 40 cheesemakers, cidermakers, breweries and wineries to hand out samples of their wares, and Phelps said approximately 1,500 people bought tickets. Including children, he estimated that total attendees numbered closer to 1,700.
“It was certainly a packed house,” he said. “We had a really good turnout.”
Chris Bray, executive vice president of the Vermont Coffee Company, was at the festival serving up maple iced coffee shakes. He said the crowd was so large that even though he brought twice the amount of coffee the company estimated it would need he still ran out by the end of the festival.
On Monday the BMP was still calculating its total earnings from the event, but Phelps estimated that the event brought in between $5,000 and $7,000 for the BMP and approximately $1,500 for the Vermont Food Bank and the Addison County Firefighters Association. On Wednesday, an email sent out to attendees reported gross festival earnings of nearly $14,000.
Phelps, who joined the BMP board last year, suggested the Midd Summer Festival as a summer event for the organization, which also hosts three other downtown celebrations: the Spooktacular at Halloween, A Very Merry Middlebury in early December and the annual Winter Carnival and Chili Festival in February.
On Monday, Phelps said the Midd Summer Fest would “absolutely” be happening again next year. He said the next step is to debrief, seek feedback and set a date for the second annual Midd Summer Festival.
“Overall, we couldn’t be happier,” he said.
Reporter Andrea Suozzo is at [email protected].

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