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Wine and Food Fest Makes a Beer Run

Annual downtown event celebrates its 30 anniversary by adding local and regional beers to its mix of wine and gourmet food.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

For an annual event that’s been to downtown Mill Valley to eat, drink and be merry for the past 29 years, that adage would seem to apply to the , set for Sunday June 26 in the .

But for co-owner Doug Canepa, whose late father Jim created the event in 1981, the addition of an array of artisan craft beers to the slate of wine and food is simply an acknowledgement of reality.

“My father was a traditionalist,” Canepa said. “But even he would agree in the end that beer has become the new wine. With the addition of in town, we thought it was a wonderful opportunity to showcase all these new artisan craft beers. It’s a natural development.”

 a year ago thrilled local beer lovers and owners Justin and Tyler Catalana promise a selection of their own brews. A host of other breweries will be on hand, including Lagunitas Brewing Company from Petaluma, San Francisco’s 21st Amendment Brewery, Iron Springs Brewery in Fairfax, Marin Brewing Co. in Larkspur and Moylan’s Brewery in Novato.

Canepa said the addition of beer won’t take away from the traditional focus on food and wine. A number of local restaurants and retailers are in the mix, including Uncle Cody’s Hot Head sauces, , , , , , and Tyler Florence’s . Novato's Apple Baum Bakery, Napa's Botanical Bakery, Healdsburg's Jimtown tapenades and Weaver's Coffee and Elegantly Organic bakery, both of San Rafael are also going to be on hand.

The event continues to be one of the primary fundraisers for the , which remains in a state of leadership limbo since the chamber board because of a budget crisis. That furlough has turned into an indefinite leave.

The chamber board brought in local event producer Daniel Escalzo to run the Wine & Gourmet Food Tasting, and Escalzo said he’s excited by the challenge.

“It’s always such a fun event,” he said.

Canepa said the event has survived because it simply doesn’t get more fun than good food and drink under a summer sun in downtown Mill Valley.

“People just love it,” he said. “That’s the overriding joy of this event - it's people having a good time. People should come down, have fun with their friends and go to the local restaurants afterwards and have dinner – sober up and talk about how much fun you had.”

The 411: The 30th Annual Mill Valley Wine & Gourmet Food Tasting takes place Sunday, June 26 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Depot Plaza. Proceeds benefit the Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce's economic development and green business programs. Tickets are $35 at Mill Valley Market, at Brown Paper Tickets, or $45 at the door. You must be at least 21 years, and bicycles, strollers and dogs are not allowed.

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