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'It's Awesome To See This Many People Having A Good Time;' Lodi Beer Fest Back And Bigger Than Before

LODI (CBS13) - With an ear to the music and a hand on their glasses, people packed the Lodi Grape Festival Grounds for the first Beer Fest and State BBQ Championship in two years.

"It's awesome to see this many people having a good time and the lines are long but people don't seem to mind," said Nancy Hennefer, President of the Grape Festival Board of Directors.

Organizers say they came back with a bang, setting up a larger food area with more barbecue competitors. They also brought in more than 40 brewers, the most they've ever had.

"I think it's bigger. I think there's more to offer. We've got a lot of games going on inside, cornhole and bocchi ball," said Hennefer.

"An array of everything imaginable from ciders, we even have wine over here. We even have ginger beer," said volunteer Hazel Jackson.

That was enough to lure large crowds. They expected more than 2,000 people after tickets sold out Friday night and VIP tickets sold out mid-week. It's clear that after a two-year break, people were anxious to pour the beer.

"This is important. You're gonna see a lot of other festivals are gonna come out of nowhere," said Mike Rustay.

"It's nice to be back outside, man, you know? it's been two years. I'm ready to taste some good barbecue. I'm ready to have some good drinks," said Gershom.

"It sucks not being able to interact with people that we don't know because we don't get to meet new people, we don't get to party we don't get to have a good time. Now we're having a great time," said Shawn Crow.

Officials say this is just part of a big comeback at the Grape Festival Grounds.

Hops and Goblins return in October with the longtime Grape Festival kicking off in September.

They're also holding all sorts of events every weekend now from dog shows to antique fairs.

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