BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The celebration of beer is back. Saturday night, the hops were hopping and the brew was pouring at the first Biloxi Chamber of Commerce Craft Beer Festival at MGM Park in Biloxi.
If the attendance is any indication, it could be the start of a long run of fun.
Garet Rippee, of Ocean Springs, lived in Germany for four years and has a taste for good beer and the clothes that go with it.
"I had this outfit in my closet," Rippee said. "I wore it last year to a wine fest in Germany, because we missed the actual Oktoberfest. So, it was just sitting in my closet collecting dust, and I figured why not wear it out here to the beer fest?"
Rippee was one of at least 200 to visit. This was also the first for Coy Estes, but he knew he would like it.
"I love anything that has beer and fest," Estes said. "Whenever you put those two together, it's a great thing."
Friends Hollis McKinley and Heather Kesby are here to have a good time and support the local flavor.
"I'm a big fan of local craft beer," Kesby said. "I go to almost all of the events, Chandeleur, and also the Biloxi Brewing Company. I've been following them for a while. That's one of the reasons that I go to the craft beer events to support local breweries in the area."
It's a good testing ground for Jim McCloskey.
"It's a great opportunity to try beers that you otherwise wouldn't have an opportunity to sample," McCloskey said. "Lot of times in the store, you see a six pack, and you're thinking, is this good enough to spend $8 or $9 on?"
The festival has a chance to fill a void left by the departure of Top of the Hops.
"I think we live in a foodie society," said Rachael Seymour, with the Biloxi Chamber of Commerce. "And these beers, they don't taste like Bud Light or Miller Lite. Those are fantastic beers, but we have a beer that's flavored with coffee out here, they infuse fruits. It's just upping the beer game for everybody."