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Craft beer and barbecue planned for Tarpon

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TARPON SPRINGS — Some combinations just make sense.

While concocting ideas for a new event to bring to Tarpon Springs, one simple realization led to the organization of what’s on tap next month.

“What’s better than beer and barbecue, right?” said local business owner Dan Jenkin.

From that concept began the joint creation of the downtown Craft Beer and BBQ Festival, set for Friday, March 7.

The new festival will be sponsored by the Rotary Club of Tarpon Springs and coordinated and hosted by the Tarpon Tavern, owned by Jenkin.

Providing an extra promotional boost will be its participation in the 2014 Tampa Bay Beer Week’s schedule of events. Created in 2012 as a way to feature and celebrate local breweries, Beer Week events are organized all over Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties.

“We’re trying to do more of these really good festivals,” Jenkin said, referencing the brainstorming effort of city officials and business owners at weekly Tourism Development Council meetings. “March is a very popular month for a lot of people to be in town and we want to try to have some high-quality events.”

A variety of primarily local breweries and barbecue restaurants are expected have their products either on tap or ready to dish out, Jenkin said.

The Dunedin Smokehouse, Costas Restaurant and Bill’s Real Deal Barbecue are a few of the 10-plus restaurants that will be setting up trailers. Helping to compliment and wash down the saucy fare will be beers from Dunedin Brewery, 7venth Sun Brewery, Green Bench Brewing Co., Cigar City Brewing, Swamp Head Brewery and more.

“There are going to be plenty of exotic or hard-to-find beers,” Jenkin said, “but we’ll also have Bud and Bud Light for people who prefer that. But the whole idea is to have craft beer and barbecue.”

The festival’s epicenter will be the parking lot at N. Safford Avenue and E. Orange Street, though some beer tents and barbecue trailers will be set up along both aforementioned roadways.

The evening event is scheduled for 5–11 p.m. and will feature musical performances.

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