The Beer Bear Giveth – 2011

By Todd Layton

Notable local brew offerings from Jailhouse Brewery (Hampton),Sweetwater Brewery (Atlanta), and Terrapin Brewery (Athens) were available.  The expanded VIP section bristled with Belgian offerings and other specialty and rare brews.

Brownwood Park was a perfect match for the late-Spring event, sheltering the crowd from the sun in a way the old J.B. Gordon School lot simply couldn’t. Also, the rectangular layout of the site made it easier to transition from one area to the next. An expanded food vendor selection made noshing more convenient, and the prominent stage made the bands an integral part of the festival.

As in years past, the 2010 EABF raised money as a 501(c)3 organization, giving back to the community in the form of grants provided to other non-profit agencies. With tough economic times still crippling charitable donations, EABF has resolved to help in East Atlanta. While not every request for funds could be met, the EABF is proud to announce seven grants to local charities.

The East Atlanta Business Association (EABA) was chartered in the early 1980s as a non-profit corporation and strives to coordinate business and community interests. EABA is deeply rooted in the community and places high priority on public safety issues in the East Atlanta Village.  To that end, EABF has provided funds to EABA to purchase mobile digital security cameras to help deter crime and to aid in prosecution of crimes committed. The mobile cameras have been placed in the East Atlanta Village and will be moved around as trends materialize.

The FitWit Foundation, Inc. focuses on improving the fitness level of kids and teens who may be lacking in an exercise program or healthy eating regime. EABF provided funds to the FitTeens and FitKids programs which are six-week fitness camps that promote healthy bodies and healthy choices. Each week, program staff, interns, and volunteers conduct four one-hour sessions that include comprehensive fitness instruction, fitness games and nutrition components.

The East Atlanta Kids Club has been offering a safe environment for play and learning since 1998. Headquartered in the Brownwood Park Recreation Center, they have been providing a promising future for East Atlanta kids despite crippling budget cuts from the City of Atlanta.  The EABF is happy to assist the East Atlanta Kids Club with operating funds both for the Kids Club and to help keep the Recreation Center open to the public through the year.

Founded in 1981, the East Atlanta Community Association (EACA) bolsters a sense of community in the neighborhood, and works to improve the quality of life for all. EACA casts a wide net through the neighborhood, and the Playgroups and Neighbor in Need programs are two exceptional programs in need of assistance. The East Atlanta Parents Network is an EACA initiative that will hold quarterly, multi-age playgroups at Brownwood Park. Refreshments are provided, as well as games, and other recreation opportunities. Over thirty families have attended previous events providing children and parents with entertainment and community bonding.

Another EACA initiative is Neighbor in Need, which facilitates emergency repairs to long-term, elderly residents. Funds are used for purchasing equipment and construction material needed for the specific repairs.

The East Atlanta Library presents a number of children’s programs, and serves a wide variety of constituents. Ultimately, the Library serves East Atlanta residents and residents of surrounding neighborhoods. The Friends of East Atlanta Library (FEAL) strive to support the Library and boost its resource capacity. Funds provided by EABF will help purchase adult and juvenile books, and DVDs; supplies for children’s storytime programs; a laptop computer for administration purposes; and a baby-changing station for the bathroom.

Through the Summer and Fall, the East Atlanta Village Farmers Market has been a Thursday night tradition, attracting discerning customers fond of locally grown produce and locally produced products. The Farmers Market accepts EBT and WIC vouchers, making it accessible to all residents, regardless of income. The Farmers Market employs a Teen Market Assistant who helps vendors set up, troubleshoots general problems, and runs the market information booth. Grants from the EABF will help the Farmers Market continue to accept payment assistance plans, and to employ their Teen Market Assistant.

The EABF is also proud to assist the Sylvester Cemetery, which is the oldest historic site in East Atlanta. The cemetery has been in existence since 1838, when the Brown family laid to rest their own on a hill overlooking Sugar Creek. Over time, the Sylvester Cemetery grew, accepting more than 1,400 souls, including children, and veterans of the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, WWI, WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.  Years of neglect and decay left the cemetery in an overgrown and dangerous state. The Historic Sylvester Cemetery Foundation has restored and maintained the cemetery since 2002, making it an urban park where people can stroll, walk their dog, and benefit from the lovely surroundings. EABF funds will assist the Historic Sylvester Cemetery Foundation with masonry projects, signage, and tree removal.

Recycle EAV was founded in 2009 with the goal of providing free recycling for East Atlanta Village businesses and residents. Eight 95-gallon bins are available free of charge to the public and to EAV businesses. Since it began, weekly pick-up of plastic, glass, and aluminum have resulted in about twelve tons of recycled material that would have been added to local landfills.  The EABF grant helps fund this eco-friendly venture.

In addition to grants, the EABF continues to sponsor the East Atlanta Strut and B*ATL. Held in September, the East Atlanta Strut is a major community event that highlights the East Atlanta Village, which becomes home to a vendor market, parade, and music venue. The East Atlanta Strut brings in thousands of participants and showcases our neighborhood. B*ATL is an event that marks the anniversary of the Civil War Battle of Atlanta. Held in July, the event is spread over several days and includes a 5K race, walking and bus tours, and an encampment reenactment.

The eighth annual East Atlanta Beer Fest will be held in Brownwood Park on May 21, 2011. It promises to be a sell-out event – just as it was in 2010 – so get your tickets early. More information can  be found at www.eastatlantabeerfest.com. Remember, all those attending will be helping their community, one beer at a time.