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Bellingham
Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Will you go to Beer Prom with me?

Ann-Marie Zender, vocalist of Blindfate, covers hits from the 80s for attendees of Beer Prom on July 26. // Photo by Zack Jimenez

By Amanda Bennett

There was no shortage of shoulder pads and mullets during the second annual Beer Prom event last Friday. Hosted by Kulshan Brewing Company, a total of 12 breweries came together to put on the “Back to the Future’s Enchantment Under the Sea” themed event. 

Proceeds from the event supported Lydia Place, a local nonprofit that works to find sustainable housing for Bellingham families. 

“We’re a housing agency and our mission is to disrupt the cycle of homelessness,” Tally Rabatin, the community engagement director for Lydia Place said. “We focus primarily on families with kids, about 85% of our resources go to them, whereas 15% goes to singles.”

“It’s one of our core values to give back to the community,” Kulshan’s media and events manager Courtney Lane said. “Lydia Place is a great organization and we’re happy to support them.” 

Kulshan Brewing came up with the idea a couple of years ago. 

“We wanted to throw a party to celebrate our brewing community but also include other Pacific Northwest breweries,” Lane said. “We reached out to Bellingham breweries and let them ‘ask out’ a brewery from out of town to prom.” 

Each brewery pair collaborated to create a new beer, which was sold exclusively at the event. Kulshan teamed up with Bale Breaker Brewing of Yakima to create the Slow Dance IPA, according to Lane.

Kulshan hosted the same event last year with the theme of “Back to the Future.”

Alex Gravely plays Super Back to the Future II on the Super Nintendo as Mindy Gravely spectates at Beer Prom on July 26. // Photo by Zack Jimenez

“Everyone really embraced the “Back to the Future” theme last year so we wanted to do it again, but this time we modeled it after the prom that happens in the movie,” Lane said. “The movie was set in the 1950s, but there’s also the underwater element and everyone loves dressing like the 1980s, so there’s quite a lot of themes going on.” 

Bellingham band BlindFate performed covers of popular 80s songs such as “What I Like About You” by the Romantics and Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love A Bad Name.” They drew a crowd to the dance floor, beginning with just a few brave people until eventually it was packed. 

The theme is also what brought out a majority of attendees. Ben and Allyssa Hay, both Bellingham residents, said the costume aspect is what encouraged them to go. 

“The combo of beer and costumes and giving back to charity made this a really appealing event,” Ben Hay said. 

Lydia Place hosts fundraising events once a month and about 25% of their budget comes strictly from donations, according to Rabatin. 

Each beer station had a poster including information regarding Lydia Place’s contributions to the community. Some successes included helping 314 children find homes in 2018 through their Family Housing Program, and service to 211 total households  provided by programs they offer.

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