There are a lot of great beer-and-music events in the Yakima Valley, but none of the others go back as far as the Moxee Hop Festival.
Started as a community celebration and fundraiser in 1947, the festival was an immediate success, drawing about 8,000 when only 3,000 were expected, according to Alice Toupin’s 1970 book “Mook-see Moxie Moxee.” By the mid-1980s, though, the event had lost momentum and was discontinued. Then in 1998, a new group of volunteers revived it. Nowadays it’s liable to draw 10,000 people to Moxee City Park over three days.
Part of its appeal, obviously, is the celebration of hops, which are a bigger deal culturally than they’ve been maybe ever. (People outside the hops and beer industries couldn’t name hop varieties 15 years ago; nowadays they’re printed on the sides of beer cans.) The more than 20 taps expected to be in the beer garden this year — including offerings from local breweries such as Bale Breaker Brewing Co., Hop Capitol Brewing, Iron Horse Brewery and Hop Nation Brewing Co. — are testament to that.
But there’s much more to the Moxee Hop Festival. There’s a parade, there’s a barbecue cook-off, festival royalty and a 5K run. And, of course, there’s live music. That’s been the signature of the festival for the entirety of its second-iteration resurgence.
This year’s lineup is typically strong, featuring local favorites such as Jayleigh Ann & The Lost Boys, Tempest, Pastel Motel and CobraHawk on the free-admission main stage throughout the festival. And the beer garden, which has a $10 cover on Friday and a $15 cover on Saturday, has its own lineup, highlighted by Yakima all-time faves The Shreds on Friday.
It’s among the Valley’s best and biggest annual parties. And, with the exception of a 13-year hiatus that ended in 1998, it has been for more than seven decades now.
If you go
- What: Moxee Hop Festival
- When: Noon-12:30 a.m. Today, 7 a.m.-12:30 a.m. Saturday
- Where: Moxee City Park, corner of State Route 24 and South Rivard Road
- Admission: Free with a beer garden cover charge of $10 Friday and $15 Saturday
- Information: www.evcea.org/moxee-hop-festival