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Frozen RiverFest serving up cold beers this weekend

lee_kuepper_frozen_river.jpeg
Courtesy of Lee Kuepper/Frozen RiverFest
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Don’t be fooled by the name – Frozen RiverFest won’t be all that freezing this year.

“I have to tell you that one of the things I’m most looking forward to is that it’s supposed to be 30 degrees," said Shanon Davis, executive director at the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber puts on the outdoor beer and music festival every year. This year’s festival is happening Saturday between 4 and 8 p.m. at Soldotna Creek Park

“So we are going to have a nice warm Frozen RiverFest this year, which hasn’t always been the case," Davis said.

Temperatures were in the teens during the last Frozen RiverFest, in 2020. 

It was one of the only chamber events on the central peninsula that year, happening just before COVID-19 shut down large gatherings. The festival was a no-go in 2021, amid the pandemic.

This year, there will be over a dozen different breweries at the festival, including newcomer Bearpaw River Brewing Company from Wasilla. Tasting tickets come with three drink tokens each.

Anchorage-based alternative rock band Zen Trembles is headlining the festival. The band just finished recording four songs from its new album at the Blackbird studio in Nashville, Tenn.

Songwriter and lead singer Becky Kotter said the band has some covers to get people dancing and about two hours of original music. 

"We have one that I wrote down on the Kenai, actually, on a fishing trip, right down there in Soldotna," Kotter said. "It’s called ‘Between the High Tides.’ I literally wrote it between the high tides of fishing.”

Zen Trembles performed last summer at Music in the Park. Since then, the band has added a new bassist and its first keyboard player, bringing the number of band members to four.

Kotter said she's really looking forward to the event. It will be one of her first times singing and strumming outside in the winter.

She’s bringing fingerless gloves just in case. The band will also have a heated tent. 

“The main thing I worry about it is I add a lot of capos and detune a lot when I play. And so I worry about just that extra tension and the weather changes. It might be going in and out of tune a lot," she said, laughing. "But we’ll deal with it.”

Davis said there will be firepits at the festival for visitors, as well. 

“We’ve had below-zero Frozen RiverFests before," Davis said. "So I’m really hoping to see a great turnout.”

Tickets are $25 for tasters, $5 for nontasters and free for kids under 12. They’re available online and at the gate the day of the event.

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