There will be more than 60 microbrews showcased at this year's Southern Oregon Brew Fest at the Harvest Festival. - MT file photo

Get your hops on at the Harvest Festival

Enjoy the fruits of someone else's labors at the 2012 Jackson County Harvest Festival.
The 22nd annual event takes place from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, Sept#&46; 21, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 23, at The Expo, 1 Peninger Road, Central Point.

The festival features a full slate of fall-themed, country-style fun, from grape stomping and pie eating to pumpkin launching and geese, cattle and sheep herding. But the highlight of this year's event looks to be the second annual Southern Oregon Brew Festival.

More than 60 microbrews — two per brewery — and alcoholic cider will be available downstairs in the Compton Arena. For $5, you'll receive a commemorative glass and three drink tickets. Additional taste tickets cost $1 each or $5 for six.

"That's the biggest beer garden that's ever come to Southern Oregon, and it's the biggest south of Portland and north of Sacramento," says Bob Bacolas, owner of Grains, Beans & Things and Brew Fest coordinator.

If you're not afraid to get your feet dirty, sign up for the grape stomp. Teams of two will be put in a tub with 30 pounds of grapes donated by Del Rio Vineyards. The team to make the most juice in five minutes wins. Preliminary heats will be at noon, 2 and 4 p.m. Saturday and noon and 2 p.m. Sunday. Finals are at 4 p.m. Sunday. The deadline for registration is midnight Friday, Sept. 21. Register at www.attheexpo.com/Page.asp?NavID=47.

This year's chili cook-off, featuring about 14 bean-stew varieties, will be at 1:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Vote for your favorite and enjoy an affordable lunch ($1 per tasting), but leave room for dessert. The popular pie-eating contest, sponsored by Rooster'S, happens at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The competition is free but limited to the number of pies on hand.

"Adults eat a whole; kids eat a half," says Expo director Dave Koellermeier. "The winner is the first one done."

Other hands-on, family activities include pumpkin carving, pumpkin launching ($2 per pumpkin) and a paintball course in the parking lot. The first 50 shots are free.

"It brings out the Rambo in everyone," Koellermeier says.

Professional and amateur arts, crafts, flowers and canned goods will be exhibited throughout the weekend on the second floor of the Compton Arena. There will be a display of antique tractors downstairs, a kids' zone with inflatable jump house outside the arena and commercial food vendors between the Olsrud Building and Compton Arena.

There will be a full bar and live entertainment at the Rogue Saloon in Chaiffon Park. The Rhythm Kings (blues) and The Mixers Band (swing, jazz and jump blues) play Friday; Off the Wall Music Band (bluegrass), The Taylor Rose Band (old-time bluegrass and country), Old Stage Road (classic rock and country), Sequoia (acoustic bluegrass, folk and pop) and The Roadsters (country and rock) play Saturday; and Jef Fretwell and The Detractors (country, bluegrass and honky-tonk), Robbie DaCosta ('50s, '60s and '70s R&B, rockabilly, pop and soul) and LEFT (alt-rock and roots music) play Sunday.

Admission is $7, $3 for children 6 to 11 and seniors 62 to 74, free for children 4 and younger and seniors 75 and older. Bring a canned-food item Friday for ACCESS and receive $2 off the price of admission; children 12 and younger will get in free. For more information and a full schedule of events, see www.attheexpo.com or call 541-774-8270.

"This is a good, family event," Koellermeier says. "There's something for everybody. It's like the fair but without the sugar and the rides."

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