Seinfeld, that show about nothing, the one that aired for 180 episodes, left devoted fans with hundreds of inside jokes, references to slip into party chitchat, and a place in the modern lexicon. Oh, and a cherished winter holiday -- Festivus -- complete with its own absurdity and anti-traditions.
This year a few local spots will host Festivus celebrations. Prepare yourselves for the airing of the grievances, the aluminum Festivus pole, and (a milder version of) public feats of strength.
First up, Festivus at 7 Corners' Town Hall Brewery. Town Hall is entering its seventh year of hosting this secular celebration of, well, nothing. Starting at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, the patio will be host to a bonfire, a prize wheel, and a special beer offering. This year's Festivus beer is a double red ale that uses spruce tips in place of hops, and is aged on white cedar. Town Hall is also releasing two other winter beers, Grinch's Grog IPA and Elves Elixir Baltic porter.
But what of the festivities? "There is no emcee and it is very informal," says owner Pete Rifakes. Grievances are aired via a suggestion box, ranging in topics over the years from happy hours to menu items. "I suspect we will get something this year about growler filling," he says.
Complimentary mulled wine and whiskey apple cider, often served by Rifakes himself, bring more than a few familiar faces, many of whom offer up their own treats. "I know Phil and Patty will be there with homemade cinnamon crusted pecans, and Maren never forgets us when distributing some of the best chocolate brittle I've ever had."
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts will host the next Festivus celebration on Thursday, December 18 for its Third Thursday series. The event is free and will include Summit beer and refreshments available for purchase, a make-your-own Festivus pole station, an ugly-sweater photo booth, and a chance to show off your (creative) feats of strength. The Festivus festivities run from 6 to 9 p.m.
The following day, Northeast's Fair State Brewing Coop will mark its first celebration of the holiday. It may be their first Festivus, but it is not their first Seinfeld reference, as they released fresh hop golden ale "It's Gold, Jerry!" earlier this year.
"We're running the airing of the grievances in the spirit of an open mic night," says head brewer Niko Tonks. "In order to air, people need to bring a food or cash donation for Southern Anoka Community Assistance, and we'll give them a soapbox...within reason, of course."
Fair State plans to have an emcee, happy hour prices on select beers, a special keg of double-dry hopped IPA (which will be tapped at 7 p.m.), and a total of seven beers on draft.
Both of the breweries are downplaying the acts of physical strength. Town Hall is using the spin wheel to emphasize the idea, while at Fair State, says Tonks, "We believe in the power of the mind -- and will most certainly not involve any actual wrestling."
The mock holiday is light and good humored, focusing on clientele and seasonal warmth, repeating the themes of companionship and celebration -- and what better way to celebrate that than to hoist a pint of good cheer.
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