This Father’s Day, you can give dad what he really wants: bourbon, boats and cigars. It’s all available in one local event at a price he’ll appreciate. Free.
A. Smith Bowman Distillery is hosting its eighth annual Father’s Day Festival with a little something for every dad and every member of the family.
This year, the event will take place from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday at the A. Smith Bowman Distillery in Fredericksburg.
“Visiting distilleries and other creators of craft alcoholic beverages is exploding in popularity,” said A. Smith Bowman Distillery’s master distiller Brian Prewitt. “This event gives dads the opportunity to try the premium spirits we create, but also have fun with their entire family.”
It will feature live music, three local food trucks, local products, lawn games, a bourbon barrel regatta and tastings of the distillery’s spirits.
Complimentary tours of the distillery will be held every half-hour starting at 11 a.m. and tastings will be held in the distillery gift shop. Included in the tastings will be the John J. Bowman Virginia Straight Bourbon, named “World’s Best Bourbon” by Whiskey Magazine in 2017. Prewitt said they will also offer tasters the other spirits they make, which along with the flagship bourbon, includes vodka, gin, rum, brandy, a caramel bourbon cream.
The distillery uses the cream to make bourbon slushies, which will be available at the event, too.
Feeding the crowds will be food trucks 716 Slice, Will’s Place and Glory Dawgs. There will be a cash bar sponsored by the Grapes & Grains Trail featuring A. Smith Bowman Distillery products in cocktails, as well as local beer and wine.
Other local vendors will be on hand selling items such as local honey, maple syrup, popcorn, salsa, woodwork and cigars. A designated area will be available for cigar smoking.
Music will be provided by Cabin Creek and Breaking Point Band.
And for the third year, A. Smith Bowman Distillery will partner with River Rock Outfitter to host the Deep Run Bourbon Barrel Regatta.
Teams have created watercraft from A. Smith Bowman Distillery bourbon barrels to race across Deep Run, which is located next to the distillery, for the past few years. Proceeds from the Barrel Regatta benefit the American Canoe Association’s education and safety programs.
Prewitt said the regatta this year will show off boats from past events. He said the creativity locals bring to the event is special.
One participant took apart a barrel and made a canoe. Another made a boat that looked like the Flintstones’ car. Yet another was a pink unicorn boat. And one of Prewitt’s favorites was a boat made to look like the yellow barrels in “Jaws.”
“What we really want is to share our passion for what we do and our community,” he said. “We’re right in town, but some people don’t know we are here. It’s about coming together to experience Virginia’s oldest distillery together.”
A. Smith Bowman’s distilling roots date back to the years before Prohibition when the Bowman family had a granary and dairy farm in Sunset Hills. They used the excess grain to distill spirits.
The distillery was moved in 1988 to its current location.
Prewitt will even celebrate Father’s Day there, with his three children, father and father-in-law. It’s his favorite local event, and its not hard to understand why.