‘Not just a sports complex’: Spooky Nook’s first big public festival happening soon

Nook Brew Fest will shut down B Street and celebrate local breweries.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill’s impact on the city of Hamilton has been palpable, both figuratively and literally.

For the past several weekends, an energy had emanated from the North B Street redevelopment of the former Champion Mill paper plant as thousands of people ascended onto the sports and events complex. And that energy translated had translated into real dollars to the area businesses seeing new out-of-town customers.

Now that the summer tournament season has concluded, Spooky Nook will transition into its fall programming, and that includes the inaugural Champion Mill Brew Fest, also dubbed the Nook Brew Fest. It’s the first public festival to be hosted by Spooky Nook since it partially opened in May 2022.

And with 40 breweries set to make an appearance at the Aug. 19 event, it’s another opportunity to show off the $165 million transformational development project just west of the Great Miami River.

“Anytime there’s something happening in Hamilton, to bring people into town, it positively impacts businesses as there’s the potential they’re still going to stop somewhere else along the way,” said Dan Bates, president and CEO of the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce. “

While this is a local tourism event, designed to bring people from all corners of the Greater Cincinnati and Miami Valley regions, it’s also an event to show the versatility of Spooky Nook, Bates said.

“One of the things we tried to do at the (Playball) Gala (in May 2022), and I think things like this show, is it’s not just a sports complex. Sports is their major business, but they can also do all kinds of events and do all sorts of things that will bring locals out and bring outsiders into Hamilton, and I think the more people see different types of things happening in spooky nook, the more I think they’ll start to see the potential.”

The Nook Brew Fest later this month is modeled after the brew fest held at their facility in Lancaster, Penn., which will be their third annual next week. Though this is their inaugural event in Ohio, “we anticipate several hundred attendees,” said Spooky Nook spokeswoman Bonnie Bastian.

“Hamilton has great festivals and events, so while we host the event at The Nook, we look for Brew Fest to become another event in the city that people look forward to year after year,” she said. “It’s really a great chance for people to get together, visit The Nook and support local breweries and businesses.”

There is an admission fee for Nook Brew Fest, which will be on a shut-down North B Street between the Champion Mill Convention Center and Warehouse Hotel and Spooky Nook Sports. The event runs 1-4 p.m. Admission is $20 for a Designated Driver ticket, $50 for a general admission ticket and $70 and an hour early access for a VIP ticket. All tickets include a processing fee.

The Designated Driver ticket will provide those folks with a bag containing food vouchers, but they won’t receive a tasting mug nor be allowed to drink.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

There are also five food trucks at the event and live music, and the businesses inside the Champion Mill Conference Center ― Petals & Wicks and Sara’s House ― will be open during the Brew Fest. There will be an after-party at Municipal Brew Works’ Champion Mill location. Champion Mill Arcade in the Sports Complex will also be open during the event.

“The exposure the city of Hamilton will receive from Brew Fest visitors who may not have been here in a while is truly priceless,” said Hamilton Economic Development Director Jody Gunderson. “The Spooky Nook complex continues to attract venues of all sizes to our community. Its versatile capacity to host events, including trade shows, sporting events, and corporate meetings, guarantees its status as a year-round attraction that draws people throughout the week.

This exposure to Hamilton could also attract new business, especially more breweries, which will see 3rd Eye Brewing, who is a vendor at Brew Fest, opening later this year on Dixie Highway. Attending breweries in the area include Municipal Brew Works and Fretboard, which have a presence in Hamilton; Swine City Brewing operates out of Fairfield; and Moeller Brew Barn has a location in Monroe.

“It amazes me, with everything that’s going on, there are still people that are coming into town and saying, ‘Gee, I didn’t know Hamilton was like this,’” said Bates. “I think that’s a possibility to open the door for other people to see the potential.”

The team at Spooky Nook has developed a relationship with the Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Fields team, and a portion of the proceeds will go to the charity.

“The impact that Spooky Nook has had on our region has been transformational,” said Tyler Bradshaw, executive director of The Nuxhall Foundation, which operates the Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Fields. “With their inaugural Brew Fest here in Hamilton, the team at Spooky Nook is showing their incredible character of generosity by supporting the Ole Lefthander’s legacy. Joe Nuxhall always loved baseball and a cold brew, and he would have loved having this event and Spooky Nook in his hometown.”

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

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