Tomorrow is Independence Day and as our country is reminded of the freedom and privileges we have, it’s important to recognize the people who have sacrificed so much in return for so little. That’s why Bethany Church and the La Porte Jaycees partnered together to bring the 2nd annual Red, Wine, and Brew to the La Porte County community.
The annual event brought almost 2,000 people to the Pioneer Land of La Porte County Fairgrounds Monday afternoon to raise money for the county’s First Responders and to kick off the Fourth of July celebrations.
“We started this combined event with the Jaycees as a kick-off to the July 4th fireworks celebration,” said Carey Garwood, Event Coordinator for Bethany Church. “The proceeds from the Red, Wine, and Brew will go to our First Responders: police, fire, EMS, and they will use that money to help with various drug prevention efforts and other programs like that.”
The fundraiser is a new-and-improved version of the La Porte Jaycees’ Beer Barn, a 40-year tradition that brings the community together to raise money for a number of events the organization holds every year.
“Over the last couple years of partnering with Bethany Church, we decided to make it one huge event,” said Joy Ziegler, Vice President of the La Porte Jaycees. “Now, we’re able to give a lot of the proceeds out, so we’re not only supporting our organization, but also being able to give back to our local heroes.”
When the event began last year, the two organizations saw about 1,000 people walk through the gates of Pioneer Land. But as the annual event celebrated its second year, Bethany Church and the La Porte Jaycees saw an incredible 2,000 people enjoy the afternoon, tasting new and delicious beverages and supporting the men and women who have sacrificed their time, energy, and sometimes, their lives.
“We started this event when there was a lot of negative coverage for police and First Responders,” Garwood explained. “So we wanted to do something that was a feel-good event specifically for First Responders. I think the community really does show their support for our First Responders by supporting this event.”
While people enjoyed the afternoon, local bands like Hazzard County and Middle of the Road entertained everyone with live music. Later, a popular Nashville duo, Walker McGuire took the stage, while Dylan Scott closed out the evening with his top hits.
T-shirts were sold all afternoon, as well as raffle tickets for the top prize and fundraiser, of the event, the Red, White, and Blue Jeep Wrangler, sponsored by La Porte Chrysler Dodge Jeep. But, the highlight of the event was by far the crisp and refreshing beverages throughout Pioneer Land. Vendors from all over the Midwest came to the event: Bell’s Brewery, Upland Brewery, and Revolution Brewery were just a few of the popular spots Monday afternoon.
“I’m really excited about meeting new people and introducing them to new beers that they haven’t tried yet,” said James Kirk, an Indiana Beverage employee who was there representing Revolution Brewery. “I’m also excited about pushing people to venture outside of their comfort zone and hopefully get that person to come up to me and say, ‘Wow, that’s really good. I need to go to the store and buy some of that today.’”
While the event was dedicated to the county’s First Responders and showing support for all that they do, the Red, Wine, and Brew was the perfect way to bring people together to celebrate the nation’s birthday together.
“Today is the kick-off to the Fourth of July celebration,” said Jess Dinger of La Porte, who attended Red, Wine, and Brew for the first time Monday afternoon. “There are very few things throughout the year that can bring the community together, and it’s fun and everybody is having a good time. The more we can get behind things like this, the better La Porte will be.”
For more information about the La Porte Jaycees, go to www.laportejaycees.org.