Bonfire and Brews: Smuttynose hosts Crackle and Hops Winter Festival



Slide down an inflatable toboggan, drink hot chocolate or beer, make s’mores over a fire pit and watch a live ice sculpting performance at Smuttynose Brewery’s Crackle and Hops Winter Festival on Saturday, Jan. 19, from 2 to 8 p.m. at 105 Towle Farm Road in Hampton.

Kourtney Auger, secretary of the Hampton Fire Fighters Charitable Organization, which will benefit from the proceeds of the event, said she is looking forward to meeting new people around the community and enjoying the casual environment.

“I anticipate that it’s going to be the sort of thing where people come, hang out around the bonfire, enjoy having a drink with a couple of friends, maybe talk with some people around the fire that you’ve never met before,” she said. “I envision it as having that town-square feel where a bunch of different people from the community are coming together and just hanging out. It’s a time to do something fun and meet your neighbors. It’s going to be a family event.”

Admission to the event is free for people of all ages and guests will find various activities around the Smuttynose campus. Food and drinks, including beer and spiked hot chocolate, or regular hot chocolate for those under 21, will be available for purchase, as will s’mores kits and tickets to ride on the 40-foot inflatable toboggan slide. VIP tickets are on sale for $30 and include two beer tickets, two hot chocolates (or one spiked hot chocolate), a s’mores kit, a koozie, a 9-inch pizza, front-of-the-line access to the beer tent, and 10 rides down the 40-foot inflatable toboggan slide.

There will be winter competitions with prizes as well as live ice sculpting and a chance to try Smuttynose’s newest Smuttlabs beer, a peanut butter stout. A DJ will be playing music throughout the event.
Proceeds go toward supporting the Hampton Fire Fighters Charitable Organization, who will also be in attendance. Guests are welcome to speak with them at the information booth.

“Last summer at the barbecue, someone came up to us saying, ‘Hey, I heard you help local people when they’re struggling and in times of need. I know someone that needs help. Can you help them?’ By all means, we love it when people reach out to us. We can’t possibly know everyone that needs something, so we’re there to tell people what we do,” said Auger, “We want to be a presence and make sure that people know that we’re not just here to go on ambulance calls. We want to be involved in our community and we want to give back and to help out and this is one way that we do that.”
Smuttynose and The Hampton Fire Fighters Charitable Organization have worked together in the past to promote the idea of giving back to the community, according to Auger.

“Last August they did a barbecue; we worked with them to do that. They also reached out to help us with our toy bank drive that we had in November. We had a chili cookoff and Smuttynose came and cooked a couple of chilis for that. They put their beer on tap at Wally’s and donated one dollar for every beer that was sold back to our toy bank so we could buy toys for children in the community,” Auger said. “When they reached out again with this event in January we jumped at the opportunity.”

The Hampton Fire Fighters Charitable Organization will also be accepting donations and selling T-shirts at their information table throughout the event.
“We hope people come out and enjoy the event and continue to support both us and Smuttynose, as well as other businesses in the community,” said Auger. “We always like when we can meet townspeople before or aside from when we’re meeting them on an ambulance call.”
The organization was formed only a few years ago with the original intent of aiding fellow firefighters in need, but has since grown to serving community members and brother and sister stations across New England.

“We realized that there was nothing that served that niche of a community, so we raised it originally when someone in our department needed assistance and we started fundraising for him. After that need was gone, we realized that there will continue to be needs so we kept it going,” Auger said. “We’ve done things like making donations when the Lawrence fires happened; if someone loses their home to a structure fire in town we might make a monetary donation to them. We do different things as a way to give back to our community.”

— Andrew Clay

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