Community celebrates 14th Annual UPtoberfest in Escanaba

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ESCANABA, Mich. (WLUC) - The weather might have been cooler than expected in Escanaba, but it sure wasn't going to stop these people from enjoying UPtoberfest, even if it meant dressing a little warmer.

"Believe it or not, 45 and cloudy and a little bit windy is the perfect UP Fall day,” said Sam Reese, the Director of Upper Hand Brewery.

This is the largest wine and beer festival in the Upper Peninsula for thousands to gather and have a good time.

"To me, this fest has always been about the people and the community and the culture, and it's awesome coming back home where I grew up here in Escanaba and seeing all these old friends, and meeting new friends,” said Seth Rivard, the Co-owner of Rockford Brewing Company.

Rivard also explains it’s a place to celebrate the things the UP loves.

"This is awesome food, awesome music and awesome beer."

This year's focus of UPtoberfest was aimed at keeping it local, meaning all beer and wine was from Michigan, with the majority of it being from the UP and Northern Lower Michigan.

"There's absolutely no reason to reach outside of Michigan to grab those breweries. We have a killer slate of breweries in town, and everybody that participates in UPtoberfest is either from the UP or has some sort of tie to the UP,” explained Reese.

While the purpose of this event was to have fun, it's also to raise money for a special group.

"Originally, this was a United Way event, and our group ... the Bay De Noc Brewers, stepped in and brought the event to the next level so we could grow it, and have some more local breweries and make it a little more successful,” said Josh Marenger, UPtoberfest organizer.

Organizers expect to raise $10,000 for United Way and other local charities in the community.