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WJBD - Local News - First 'Celebrate Centralia!' Draws Good Crowd

Makraft Brewery owned Michael Kuhn at his booth at 'Celebrate Centralia!'

A large tent is set up in Carillon Park for those attending the first 'Celebrate Centralia!' event Saturday afternoon.

First 'Celebrate Centralia!' Draws Good Crowd

By Rob Sussman, WJBD News

Early afternoon rain didn't stop the first-ever "Celebrate Centralia!" Art and Wine Festival in Downtown Centralia's Carillon park on Saturday. Hundreds of area residents converged on the park to sample local beers and wines, enjoy artwork from local artists, and purchase crafts and food from a wide variety of vendors.

Centralia Mayor Tom Ashby says the event exceeded initial expectations. The Art and Wine Festival was created as part of an effort to showcase the talents of local artists as well as the newly placed green space downtown.  "Actually a lot of it was sitting around and just talking trying to figure out how to get people to come back to Centralia.  For years and years Centralia was known as a place to come shop and go eat.  We want people to feel comfortable about that again," said Ashby.

According to many of the vendors, people are indeed feeling more comfortable about that again. Makraft Brewery, a Centralia-based craft brewery owned Michael Kuhn, was one of the most popular vendors at the festival.  "It's been going great, a steady crowd.  They really like what we have here today," said Kuhn.  "The darker beer is actually going a little better than the lighter beer, which in my mind it should be since it is later in the season."

In addition to plenty of wine and beer tasting, festival goers were able to experience musical performances by the Centralia Carillon, Tom Baker's Mardi Gras Brass Band, the Bronze Expression Handbell Ensemble, the Little Theater Players cast of "Hairspray", Stacey Kelley, Kevin Gamblin, and Jamie Nattier.

The festival was organized through the City of Centralia in cooperation with the Centralia Cultural Society.

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