The excitement is clear in Michael Maxwellâ€™s voice when he talks about the Blues and Brews Festival.
Maxwellâ€“the executive director for Washington County Chamber of Commerce and Chipley Redevelopment Agencyâ€“is looking forward to the upcoming first-time event, which will feature live music and alcohol in Downtown Chipley.
â€œWe wanted to bring something new and different to Washington County and Chipley,â€ he said.
The free event will be held on Oct. 14 from 2-9 p.m. by the old rail depot. Several acts are scheduled to play: Johnnie Marshall Blues Band, Skyler Saufley & the 99th Degree, JC and the Backscratchers, and Blues Meets Girl.
â€œWe have four really outstanding blues artists,â€ Maxwell said.
Vendors will be selling adult beverages and food. People are welcome to bring a blanket or lawn chair if they go, though no outside coolers or beverages are allowed. Downtown businesses and restaurants will be open.
Such an event is now permissible in Washington County, which used to be a dry county before a majority of voters approved allowing the sale of alcoholic beverages in 2022. Maxwell said he had to secure a one-day license for alcoholic beverages from the state.
â€œI think itâ€™s a great thing,â€ Maxwell said regarding Blues and Brews. â€œWeâ€™re catching up, so to speak, with other communities.â€
He further said he loves seeing street festivals, including ones that have live music. Such events add to the ambience and atmosphere of a downtown area, Maxwell said.
There has been â€œtremendous support from corporate sponsors,â€ including several banks and realtors, Maxwell said.
He intends for Blues and Brews to be an annual festival and â€œ a signature fall event.â€
â€œHopefully, this will be the first of many in Washington County and Chipley,â€ Maxwell said.