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Pair the Finest Pennsylvania Beers and Foods in Historic Harrisburg

From being the Capital of Pennsylvania since 1812 to serving as the first camp for Union soldiers during the Civil War, Harrisburg is a destination steeped in history and culture. Visitors will encounter ample opportunities to learn about the city and its history at The National Civil War Museum, The State Museum of Pennsylvania, and Fort Hunter Mansion and Park. The city is also the epicenter of arts and culture in Central Pennsylvania. Travelers will be enamored with the performances and exhibits at Open Stage of Harrisburg, Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts, and Susquehanna Art Museum.


PA Flavor has been one of the leading spring culinary events in the region since it began eight years ago, and it will take place April 21 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex. This year’s event will showcase samples from some of the top restaurants, breweries, and food producers in Pennsylvania. In fact, more than 40 breweries and 18 restaurants will have representatives on-hand to meet with patrons and inform them about their products. The MC of the event is DJ Hawaiian Chris James from 105.7 The X, and DJ’s from Klock Entertainment will provide the live music. Purchase of a VIP ticket includes unique chef demos, entry to the Mixology Bar, hors-d'oeuvres, and specialty craft beers. While designated drivers won't be able to sample libations, they will have access to all food samples, craft sodas, nitro cold-brew coffee, and water. The event benefits the PA Restaurant & Lodging Association Educational Foundation Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships for students continuing their education in the hospitality industry. interviewed Event Director, Heidi Howard, to learn more about this tasting soiree.


RAL: How long has the event been running?  

HH: This will be the 8th year for PA Flavor.


RAL: How many annual attendees do you draw?  

HH: We have grown attendance each year. In 2017, we had about 1,200 attendees, and this year, hope to reach 1,500 people.


RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?  

HH: We see mostly craft beer enthusiasts and foodies. This is a 21 and over event (no one under age will be allowed admittance). We see a lot of couples and groups of friends.


RAL: What makes this event unique?

HH: Many beer festivals do not include food, but this one does! Ticket holders get to sample craft beer from PA breweries and signature dishes from PA restaurants.


RAL: Take me through a day at the event. What can I expect as an attendee?

HH: We have food and beer tastings for all tastes. VIP ticket holders can check out the chef demos and our Mixology Bar. We also have our designated drivers covered with craft sodas, bottled water, and nitro cold brew coffee!


RAL: Will there be any guest appearances?  

HH: Some PA brewers have reached celebrity status. You never know who may show up! We also have DJ Hawaiian Chris James from 105.7 The X as our Master of Ceremonies.


RAL: What dining options will attendees encounter?  

HH: You won’t need to eat for days after sampling at this event!  Make sure you come hungry.


RAL: Tell us about the overall atmosphere.  

HH: It has a great vibe, with beer lovers of all ages attending. This year we have background music provided by DJs from Klock Entertainment.


RAL: Are there any lodging specials that are set up for the event?

HH: Yes! We have a list of hotels offering discounts for PA Flavor and Harrisburg Beer Week.  The folks at HBW will be putting the list on their website shortly.  


RAL: What does this event mean to the community?

HH: PA Flavor benefits the PA Restaurant & Lodging Association Educational Foundation Scholarship Fund, which awards scholarships to students furthering their education in the hospitality industry annually. Other beneficiaries of the event include the Brewers of PA, which is the craft brewers association, helping to educate legislators on industry issues, as well as the American Culinary Federation’s Harrisburg Chapter (the chef’s association), which also has a scholarship program.


RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?

HH: Yes, people drive in from as far away as Erie for PA Flavor. Some stay at local hotels and utilize taxis and Uber. They are also exposed to some of our local restaurants, which see an uptick in reservations after the event.


RAL: Why should people come to your event?

HH: Pennsylvania is renowned for our craft beer scene. This is a chance to sample craft beer from around the state, all under one roof. Also, as previously stated, this is not your average beer festival. We include lots of food tastings at PA Flavor. No one is going hungry here!


For more information about PA Flavor, please visit the event website.