The West Hartford Firefighters Local 1241 will hold its 4th annual Firefighter's Grilling & Beer Tasting Festival on Friday, Sept. 14, from 6 to 10 p.m., as a benefit for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Lt. Carl Dojan, co-coordinator of MDA fundraising for the , said the idea for the fundraiser actually began about five years ago when firefighters set up a grill outside the store on Raymond Rd. and sold dinners to raise money for the MDA.
The event was well-received and successful, and eventually grew to include beer tasting as well as live music.
Last year, vendors offered tastings of eight local/regional beers, including brews from Narragansett, Hooker, Ten Penny, and Berkshire Brewing. All beers included in the tasting are sold at Whole Foods, but are donated to the event directly by the vendors.
Whole Foods will once again host the festival in the area of the store parking lot adjacent to Raymond Rd. All of the ingredients for sliders, hot dogs, and a vegan offering will be donated by Whole Foods, and prepared by West Hartford firefighters.
Local band Fatgrip has already pledged to once again donate their time performing at the event. "They are an excellent band with their own following, and people really wanted them to come back," said Dojan. He said another band may also perform.
A minimum donation of $10 is suggested for the beer tasting, which includes tickets for eight beer samples. The beer tasting is only open to those over 21, who will receive bracelets along with their tickets when their identification is verified at the sign-in table.
The grilling and music is open to families and people of all ages, with a fee of $6 for the food.
"One hundred percent of the money collected is donated to the MDA," said Dojan. Support services, such as lighting, are also being donated, he said.
Last year the event raised approximately $6,500. For 2012, Dojan said, "We want to raise more than that – I hope."
Members of the West Hartford Fire Department have tickets to sell, and they will also be available at the event. To purchase tickets or make a donation in advance, send your check payable to the West Hartford Firefighters Association to: West Hartford Firefighters Association/MDA, 2458 Albany Ave., West Hartford, CT 06117.
"We have a lot of families in town who benefit from the MDA, and they support us, too. It's a fun time," said Dojan.