Beer festival changes venues after 11 years

By Mark Fisher
Staff Writer
DAYTON — The 16th annual AleFest Dayton will be held at a new venue — Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark — because of a rental-policy dispute with the festival’s home in recent years, Carillon Park, AleFest organizers said.
This year’s AleFest will be held from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 23 at Wegerzyn, 1301 E. Siebenthaler Ave. The event will showcase more than 400 beers and ciders from more than 180 craft breweries around the world, with a special focus on Dayton-area breweries, festival organizers said. Nine local breweries will be participating.
AleFest has called Carillon Park home for 11 years, but event organizers said in a news release that “cost-prohibitive rental policy changes beyond our control” led to the move to Wegerzyn.
Joe Waizmann, founder and chief organizer of AleFest, said in an email that he decided not to hold the event at Carillon Park “due to an exorbitant change in (Carillon’s) rental and fee structure.”
But Brady Kress — president and CEO of Dayton History, which includes Carillon Park — said park officials did not raise the rent for the event. Dayton History officials did add a requirement that Waizmann and AleFest purchase liquor liability insurance for the event, and to purchase all of the alcohol served at AleFest through Carillon Park’s liquor license for Carillon Park.
Kress said the state’s liquor regulations require the purchases to be made through its license unless Dayton History were to set aside its license for the day, which would mean it could not serve beer at its new historic brewery that is scheduled to open the day before AleFest.
“Carillon is a non-profit museum,” Kress said. “We’re trying to make it as a non-profit in this town, too.”
Waizmann said Wegerzyn Gardens “offers a bucolic setting for sampling craft beers on a summer afternoon. Parking is plentiful, and the space provides ample room for growth.”
A portion of AleFest’s proceeds benefits a handful of local non-profit agencies.
There will again be a Dayton Beer Week preceding AleFest Dayton, including a Dayton Beer Pride Parade on Aug. 17.
General admission tickets, $40 at the door or $35 in advance, include 20 tasting tickets, a commemorative glass, and program guide. A limited number of “VIP” tickets will be sold for $50 and will offer early admission to the event starting at 1 p.m. Designated drivers will be admitted for $15 and will receive a commemorative tasting glass as well as complimentary soda and water. No one under 21 will be admitted.
Tickets can be purchased online at or at several beer and wine stores and taverns in the Dayton area. For more information, go to the AleFest Dayton Facebook page at