Raise a glass to fall

Arms extended out, holding large glass steins of beer in a Stein Holding competition. Ohh buddy whose going to tap out first?

Fody’s Tavern introduces fall festival in Derry

When Fody’s Tavern acquired a 40-by-60-foot tent in January 2020 for its inaugural winter festival in Derry, co-owner Maria Foden could not have imagined just how critical that investment would be.
“I mean, we’ve probably used that thing a thousand times now,” Foden said. “It was just good fortune … because when everybody else was shut down because of Covid and we were trying to scramble to get outdoor seating ready and everything, we already had the tent. So we were very lucky, because we were able to have so many seats outside early on.”
After skipping a year in 2021 due to pandemic concerns, the winter festival returned for a second year the following January. Now, a new similar event is building on its success — the first Fody’s Fall Festival is happening on Saturday, Oct. 22, and will include all kinds of locally sourced food and beer samples, Foden said, along with live music, a stein hoisting competition, children’s games, giveaways and more.
“We’re essentially mirroring our winter festival, so it’s going to be literally 10 hours of just fun entertainment, [with] great music and food, all outdoors,” she said. “We’ll have all sorts of fall goodies … for people to buy, and samples, too.”
From noon to 4 p.m., the festival will be open to attendees of all ages, with pony rides, face-painting and other activities and games available for the younger crowd. Then, beginning at 4 p.m., the event will transition into a 21+ outing. In addition to beers from several local breweries — Rockingham Brewing Co. of Derry; and Long Blue Cat Brewing Co. and Pipe Dream Brewing, both of Londonderry, to name a few — the Boston-based Ghost Tequila, a chief sponsor of the festival, will offer samples of its own.
Food samples will be provided by some local vendors as well. Fabrizia Spirits of Salem, for instance, will have some of their own limoncello-infused desserts in addition to some of their liqueurs, while Theresa Zwart of 603 Charcuterie is providing several types of locally made cheeses and other products commonly found at her wildly popular charcuterie classes. Additionally, Foden said that the tavern will likely offer a special menu of seasonal options.
“We’ll probably just do easy things that, when people are out there enjoying themselves, they can just grab a snack,” she said. “The whole restaurant will be open for full dinner and lunch service as well, so if people want to go in and sit down and get a meal during the festival, they can.”
A full schedule of live local music is also planned, with each act broken out into two- to three-hour performing increments. From 6 to 8 p.m., there will be a stein hoisting competition, a tradition at many Oktoberfest celebrations that originated in Germany and is now a competitive sport. Participants are given a stein filled to the top with beer that they must hold by the handle out in front of their bodies with one hand for as long as possible. The person who can hold it for the longest time without breaking form or spilling their stein is declared the winner.
Once night falls, Foden said, attendees can gather around a fire pit, and there will also be a special LED light dance show.

Fody’s Fall Festival
Saturday, Oct. 22, noon to 10 p.m. (kids’ activities will be available from noon to 4 p.m.; after 4 p.m., the event is 21+ only)
Where: Fody’s Tavern, 187½ Rockingham Road, Derry
Cost: $10 general admission; additional charges apply for food, drinks and pony rides
More info: Visit fodystavern.com or see “Fody’s Fall Festival” on Eventbrite to purchase tickets
Event is held outdoors, so be sure to dress appropriately. A potential rain date is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 29.

Author: Matt Ingersoll

Matt Ingersoll writes about all things food and drink, covering new restaurants and following the most delicious foodie trends in the state. Reach him at mingersoll@hippopress.com.

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