Crop circles in the cornfield at 450 North Brewing Company serve as a sign that craft beer fests currently enjoy an out-of-this-world popularity in pouring on the entertainment.

Does more than 3,000 ticket sales — nearly a sellout already — for the second annual Corn Maze Beer Fest on Saturday convince you that specialty hops are sipping away from the competition?

“The fact that our event is unique among the others inside of a corn maze helps make it more of an attraction,” said David Simmons, co-owner of the company. “And the Columbus Craft Beer Fest (fundraiser) was such a success last year, I think, partly because of the large number of breweries there.”

Fifty-five such businesses, included his brewery, sold their products at that first-time event that drew 2,500 people — and on a rainy day, to boot.

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Columbus resident Elaine Wagner launched the idea of the Mill Race event with the help of a team of volunteer organizers, along with the local ZwanzigZ pizzeria and brewery, which was named the country’s Small Brewpub and Small Brewer of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver in October.

Proceeds benefited the Columbus Park Foundation, which supports a broad range of efforts on behalf of local parks and their recreational activities. This year, for the Columbus Craft Beerfest is at 3 p.m. Sept. 30 again at the park, an added beneficiary is the nonprofit Just Friends Adult Day Services located at Mill Race Center.

“We were happy with last year’s event, and the fact that people had a great time and got home safely,” Wagner said. “But we’re definitely hoping for no rain this year.”

Tic Tac Flow will provide music.

One change at the Columbus Craft Beerfest will be that designated drivers will be served ZwanzigZ craft sodas instead of only water as they were last year.

Another adjustment will be that the event will unfold in a more shaded area of the park to the left of the the Round Lake (looking at the park from just inside the Fifth Street entrance). And more tents also will provide relief from possible heat.

“We want everyone to know that we care and we’ve heard what they’ve said,” Wagner said.

The Columbus Craft Beerfest also will feature one other change: slightly fewer vendors, but more food overall, which is what ticket buyers said they wanted.

At the Corn Maze Beer Fest, a crowd of more than 2,000 sold out the beer, food and live music gathering last year. So the current version Saturday at 450 North Brewing Company, 8111 E. County Road 450N near Columbus, features nearly double the number of tickets.

A total of 40 craft breweries and eight food vendors will be spread among nine circles in the six-acre maze, with a map to guide attendees to the right eats and drink. Bluegrass bands Flatland Harmony Experiment and The Hammer and the Hatchet will provide live tunes. Plus, rock band Oddz R will perform at a free, all-ages after party event from 5 to 9.m.

McKinley Minniefield, a sales representative for 450 North Brewing Company who is helping with the event, mentioned last week that only a few hundred tickets remain. He sees the craft beer surge continuing with an audience that he sees as discriminating when it comes to alcohol.

“People still have such a draw to this (market),” Minniefield said.

Making that segment of the industry, for now, and at least for the next two weekends locally, rather outstanding in its field.

If you go

Corn Maze Beer Fest

When: Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday with a free, all-ages after party with food and live music from 5 to 9 p.m.

Where: In a six-acre corn maze at 450 North Brewing Company, 8111 E. County Road 450N, near Columbus.

Tickets: $40, $60 and $10 (for designated drivers).


Columbus Craft Beerfest

When: 3 to 6 p.m. Sept. 30.

Where: Mill Race Park on Fifth Street.

Tickets: General admission, $35 in advance and $45 at the gate (if available). Early-entry tickets, $50 in advance and $60 at the gate (if available). $10 for designated drivers.

Information and tickets:

Author photo
Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5672.