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Newark’s Parks on Draft outdoor beer garden returns next week

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Parks on Draft

The Parks on Draft pop-up beer garden, held in Olan Thomas Park last August, will return for three weekends this summer.

Despite the pandemic, Newark is bringing back its outdoor beer garden events starting next week.

The first installment of this year’s Parks on Draft will be held next weekend at Olan Thomas Park, located at the intersection of Cleveland Avenue and Paper Mill Road. The beer garden will be open from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, July 9; Friday, July 10; and Saturday, July 11. On Sunday, July 12, it will be open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Based on a similar event series in Philadelphia, the Parks on Draft initiative is intended to capitalize on the trend of outdoor beer gardens, bring new people to town, support businesses during the traditionally slow summer season, raise money for charity and highlight the city’s various parks. Newark held a trial run last August, which drew 1,500 people over four days.

“It’s an integral part in making Newark a destination,” Mayor Jerry Clifton said earlier this year. “It’s events like this that will make Newark attractive to people in the 25 to 45 age range. That’s important for the long-term viability of the city.”

Planned for three weekends this summer, each event will be held in a different park and feature a different Newark bar selling food and beer. They will all run Thursday through Sunday and will include live music.

Wait staff, bouncers, food and beer will be provided by the restaurants.

Next week’s event is co-hosted by Klondike Kate’s, which will serve sliders (mini burgers, pulled pork or cranberry apple chicken salad), hot dogs and chili cheese dogs, pear salad, pasta salad, street corn and more. Beers include drafts from Bud Light, Corona Premier, Goose Island Next Coast IPA, Oyster Solar Power, Fordham and Dominion Cat 5 Key Lime Lager. White Claw Hard Seltzer will also be available at the event, along with soda, water and juice pouches.

Andrew Moorer will perform July 9, John Fazio will perform July 10, and DJ Amaze will perform Saturday.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Newark Parks and Recreation Department and SL24 Unlocke the Light Foundation.

“Kate’s is super excited to host the first Parks on Draft event for Summer 2020. We can’t wait to see everyone and join us for some great food and brews and help us support a great local foundation,” General Manager Jamie Kelso said in a prepared statement.

The family-friendly event features free parking at Curtis Mill Park and Old Paper Mill Road Park. Attendees are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets to sit on.

City officials said they will follow coronavirus-related guidelines for outdoor events but did not detail the precautions being taken.

“During Parks on Draft, we will follow all COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions issued by the Governor’s Office at the time of the event (meaning, what is being practiced now could change if we enter Phase 3),” spokeswoman Jayme Gravell said. “Masks will be required when six-foot social distancing cannot be maintained.”

Currently, outdoor gatherings are limited to 250 people.

Later this summer, Grain Craft Bar + Kitchen will co-host Parks on Draft at Kells Park from Aug. 6-9. The event scheduled for June at Handloff Park was postponed until July 23-26, but the city is still trying to line up a restaurant partner after the initial partner pulled out.

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