Ryan Chartrand

“Festival is my new favorite word!” my boyfriend drunkenly proclaimed.

Forget going downtown to the bars or throwing some randomly-themed house party; the new rage is an all-day drinking affair, delectably titled a “festival.”

So let’s think about what a festival really is: a celebration with entertainment. I like celebrations and I like entertainment, so why not throw in a little alcohol with that? OK, or a lot of alcohol.

In the past months, San Luis Obispo has had several festivals pay a visit. The Cal Poly Wine Festival in Pozo, the World Festival of Beers in Avila Beach, the Paso Robles Wine Festival and the Cambria Art and Wine Festival are just a few that grace us with their presence year after year.

So let’s break it down. Yes, they do cost money. The Cal Poly Wine Festival was $30 for students and $50 for the general public (so no complaining, we are really getting a deal here). The beer festival in Avila was $40 – and let me tell you, it was worth every cent. The event featured 167 different beers from 67 different breweries throughout the world. Someone find me a house party that can serve that!

But let’s get to the best part: It’s all you can drink! Say it with me now: ALL YOU CAN DRINK! I challenge any bar to serve me an unlimited variety of the best beers in the world, all day, for just 40 bucks (granted, there is this thing called “Pint Night” at Downtown Brew, but don’t even get me started on that place).

Festivals are all about where they’re located. Have you ever been out to Pozo? It’s 28 miles from San Luis Obispo, literally in the middle of nowhere. This time of year, words can’t even describe how beautiful it is. The Wine Festival was located on a huge grassy knoll way out in the middle of nowhere, paving way for a picture-perfect afternoon sipping your favorite local wines. Or there’s the World Festial of Beer, which was right next to the ocean on a gorgeous, sunny day. Mix that in with some live tunes and food and you’re bound to have a good time.

Perhaps the best part is the people. You find yourself surrounded by thousands of alcohol-lovers like yourself and everyone is having the best time. Maybe we’re all happy drunks or just having a good day, call it what you will, but I swear, you won’t find a bad mood at a festival. There are no lines, endless alcohol and good music; seriously, what more can a person ask for?

Of course, let’s talk about transportation. Not to get all motherly on you, but drinking and driving is a definite no-no. Some festivals will even offer transportation. The Cal Poly Wine Festival had buses going to Pozo and back for just $5 each way. Hey, it costs less than a DUI. So be sure to plan ahead and figure out a designated driver.

So, as a self-proclaimed avid festival-goer, I hope to see you when the next round of festivals comes our way. Because I assure you, you’ll be guaranteed to find me there.

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