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Septembeerfest returns to Avery Park this weekend, showcasing some of the best craft beers, meads and ciders from throughout the region.

The ninth annual brew bash, put on by the Heart of the Valley Homebrewers, will take place from 1 to 9 p.m. Saturday under the trees between the rose garden and the Dinosaur Bones play structure.

It will be the second year at Avery after a seven-year run at the Benton County Fairgrounds, and organizers say the change of venue seems to be working well.

“We got a nice response to the location last year,” said Armand Schoppy, who serves on the board of the homebrewers’ guild. “We’re very happy to have it at Avery Park. We think it’s nicer aesthetically than the fairgrounds. It’s also more convenient, easier to get to for a lot of people.”

About 3,500 people turned out for last year’s sudsfest, and organizers are hoping for 3,750 this year.

They’ve rearranged things slightly this time around to take better advantage of shade trees at the park, Schoppy added — “Last year was really hot,” he said — but otherwise the event will follow its time-tested formula of highlighting the rich variety of fermented craft beverages from the mid-valley and beyond.

This year’s edition will feature 80 beers, ciders and meads from 34 artisinal producers. Food and soft drinks will also be available for purchase.

Among the newcomers making their Septembeerfest debut will be 3 Sheets Brewery, a fledgling operation that started in the owner’s North Albany garage last year.

A $20 admission fee gets patrons in the gate and comes with a souvenir pint glass and eight drink tokens. Additional tokens are available for purchase at the rate of four for $5. In most cases, one token will get you four ounces of amber goodness, although some brews are spendier than others.

Advance tickets are available at Corvallis Brewing Supply.

You have to be 21 to sample the wares, of course, but the event is family-friendly. Youths 13-20 get in for $3 (as do designated drivers), and kids 12 and under are free. Anyone under 21 must be accompanied by a paying adult, and the organizers ask that you leave your pets at home.

A trio of mid-valley bands will provide the entertainment. Blues and Sunshine takes the stage at 1:30 p.m., followed by Gumbo at 4 and Parish Gap at 6:30.

A free shuttle service will operate from 1 to 9:30 p.m. Buses will run every 15 minutes or so, with stops at Cloud & Kelly’s, the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library, Downward Dog on Monroe, Reser Stadium and 15th and Western.

Most of the proceeds from Septembeerfest go to support the local food bank, but it also benefits some other nonprofit causes, including a scholarship fund for fermentation science students at Oregon State University.

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Reporter Bennett Hall can be reached at 541-758-9529 or bennett.hall@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter at @bennetthallgt.

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Special Projects Editor

Special Projects Editor, Corvallis Gazette-Times and Albany Democrat-Herald