The 15th annual Pork & Brew Festival is returning to the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho from June 29 through July 1. The Crew sat down with SASC director of marketing Alex Archuleta to get all the details for all of you beer and barbecue lovers.
“We call it New Mexico’s original food festival,” Alex said. “It’s been around for 15 years, so it’s kind of stood the test of time. Rio Rancho’s real proud of it.”
The goal of the organizers this year is to make the event more friendly to customers. The first change, Alex said, was to change the hours on the opening Friday from all day to 3 to 9 p.m.
“Something a little different we’re doing on Friday is running it from 3 to 9, so hopefully we’ll capture more of that after-work crowd,” he said, while also noting that it tends to be the least crowded day, if huge crowds are not your thing. “If we’re on a date that’s not as packed, it will be Friday, because people get off work and go home, and once you get home, you stay home.”
Another revision is in how customers will purchase food and beer.
“The big change this year is we’re doing away with those barbecue bucks,” Alex said. “Before you had to go in and exchange your money. It made it tough on the consumer. You ended up stuck with extras. All the vendors will take cash or cards now.”
The breweries in attendance are the same as last year, as Cazuela’s, Red Door, and Tractor will return. Alex said each brewery will have five to six beers on tap under a tent outside. There will also be mixed drinks, wine, and macro beers available inside the arena.
There will not be a special beer made just for the event, unlike the last couple of years.
“No, that’s something we decided not to do (this year),” Alex said. “It was cool, that was something that stood out a little bit. It’s something we’d like to do (again) in the future.”
Franz Solo, who went to the event last year, noted that it was a bit confusing as to where the entrance was, so Alex said that has also been adjusted.
“We’re going to have one entrance, too,” he said. “That will be up top in the VIP parking area. That will make things easier, too, rather than people running around.”
Another fun event for all the grilling novices out there will take place Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m.
“The other new (event) is BBQ 101,” Alex said. “One of the vendors each day will give demonstrations on how they do what they do. They’ll do different stuff, show you how to grill vegetables, fish, pretty much anything you can cook.”
While live music, Galloping Grace Youth Ranch, the pig races, and paintball will all return, there will be one new live performance to watch.
“Another thing is we’re bringing in the New Mexico Gunfighters this year,” Alex said. “They’re local guys, they get all dressed up in Wild West garb. They’ll be doing performances Saturday and Sunday at 1 and 3.”
As for the live music schedule, here it is:
Friday, June 29
- 3 p.m.: Beg Borrow & Steal (Brew Tent Stage)
- 4:30 p.m.: Toby McBrooks (SASC Stage)
- 5:30 p.m.: Paul Pino & the Tone Daddies (Brew Tent Stage)
- 7:30 p.m.: LifeGroups (SASC Stage)
Saturday, June 30
- 11 a.m.: Avenge Apollo (Brew Tent Stage), Toby McBrooks (SASC Stage)
- 12:30 p.m.: Split Decision (SASC Stage)
- 1:30 p.m.: Danny the Harp (Brew Tent Stage)
- 3:45 p.m.: Red Wine (SASC Stage)
- 5:30 p.m.: Twist & Shout (SASC Stage)
Sunday, July 1
- Noon: The Gershom Brothers (Brew Tent Stage), Toby McBrooks (SASC Stage)
- 1:30 p.m.: Sour Puss (SASC Stage)
- 4 p.m.: Ancient Bones (Brew Tent Stage)
- 4:30 p.m.: Red Wine (SASC Stage)
For more information, head over to the Santa Ana Star Center official site. Tickets are $6 for adults, while kids, seniors, and anyone with a military ID can get a ticket for $4.