Organizers promise January’s Coffee Festival won’t be a disaster
Growing up is hard to do — a lesson San Antonio Coffee Festival founder Linda Brewster knows better than most.
“The first four years we literally couldn’t get anyone to come,” Brewster said of the event she launched more than six years ago.
And then, in a complete surprise to her, attendance to the event held in January at La Villita Historic Arts Village tripled. Consequently, festivalgoers were faced with long lines, limited supply and a generally unsatisfying event that led many to grumble about the experience online.
“Last year was absolutely out of control. We invited grandma, grandpa, the family dog, bring your bicycle. I just needed people in the square,” Brewster said. “Everyone came out, and they came out at the same time.”
Most were out little more than $5 and an hour of time, but the rocky performance drew accusations of being “poorly planned,” “disastrous” and “disappointing” in posts left on the festival’s Facebook page.
But that was then.
This January, Brewster pledges attendees can expect a much smoother experience. Wrist bands. Entry gates. A robust mobile app with real-time text alerts. Attendance capped at 5,000. A portion of East Nueva Street will be closed to accommodate the crowd. A $7 entry fee ($10 at the gate) buys a flight of five coffee samples from more than 30 area roasters, and numerous artisans will be on site with coffee-themed arts, crafts and other gifts perfect for the coffee lover in your life.
Brewster said that while the festival’s mechanics might be different, the spirit of the event remains intact.
“Our goal is to concentrate San Antonio’s attention center stage on the local coffee scene,” she said.
She’s got good reason for wanting to shine a spotlight on that scene. For the past few years, the finance website wallethub.com has ranked San Antonio in 60th place or lower on its annual Best Coffee Cities in America list. That’s behind St. Louis, Missouri; Lincoln, Nebraska; and Jersey City, New Jersey — not to mention being outranked by Austin (17), Plano (26), Dallas (31), Houston (36), Irving (44) and Fort Worth (50) here in Texas. And that roasts Brewster the wrong way.
“We’re the seventh-largest city. We should be at least number seven,” she declared.
Want to help Brewster percolate the Alamo City up through the ranks? Join her at the San Antonio Coffee Festival from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (VIP entrance at 10 a.m.) Jan. 5 at La Villita. Additional details and ticket information at sanantoniocoffeefestival.com.
Paul Stephen is a staff writer in the San Antonio and Bexar County area. Read him on our free site, mySA.com, and on our subscriber site, ExpressNews.com. | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: @pjbites | Instagram: @pjstephen