Beer Over Dirt is a funny name for a festival. If you happened to know that every spring the Wine Over Water event is held on the Walnut Street Bridge and if you happened to know that Beer Over Dirt is held in Renaissance Park on the ground, you might find it ha-ha-funny instead of strange-funny.
After all, we usually think of beer as being the humbler drink of the two. Plus, some people seem to think drinking beer is a more manly activity than drinking wine. So, if you’re going to start an annual beer tasting festival, it’s probably a good idea to give it a name that is both humorous and manly sounding so as not to alienate any possible participants.
I was busy getting ready to leave for a conference the next day, so we didn’t get to go to the event. But, we did walk through the park while the organizers were getting set up.
It’s interesting to watch the transformation of the park as they set up for an event. Encountering the sudden invasion of the sidewalk under the ramp over the wetland by a row of plastic port-a-potties was our first tip-off that something was going down that night.
Next, the grass circle had orange plastic fencing all the way around it. We later learned it was roped off because they set up an agility course for dogs. Had we known that sooner, I might have made time to go down to the event–I would have loved to see what Twiggy and Tisen would do in an agility course! Twiggy probably would have pounced on the tunnel and tried to eat it while Tisen tried to play tug-o-war with it. In any case, it could have been fun.
The next clue was the appearance of canopies for vendors’ booths along the sidewalk and in the picnic area of the park. One vendor walked back and forth with a dog following faithfully at her heels with no leash. The law says dogs have to be leashed in the park, but I’ve seen dogs on leashes who were far more out of control than this dog. That dog clearly thought following his owner back and forth was the most interesting and important thing in the world–he didn’t even look at Tisen or Twiggy.
Finally, the giant semi with a stage and sound system pulled up on the sidewalk removed any doubt we might have had at that point that there was going to be some kind of party along the river. For $25 you could taste beer for 4 hours, enjoy a live band, and take your dog through an agility course. It was all to raise money for a conservancy project for a local creek that feeds into the Tennessee River, but I wasn’t willing to spend $50 for us to run down for ½ an hour with the dogs.