Warhawks, community unite with beer festival

Students, faculty, staff and the Monroe community stood underneath the twinkling lights in an open field, raising their mugs as the sounds of music and laughter filled the air. 

Last Thursday, Warhawks and community members gathered at the Laird Weems Center for Hawktoberfest, an annual event hosted by 31 Ambassadors. They enjoyed a large selection of over 30 different craft beers provided by several breweries from Louisiana and southern Arkansas. 

Due to the pandemic, Hawktoberfest was suspended and had not occurred since 2019. But this year they brought back a new and improved version.

Hawktoberfest is a spin-off of the beloved Oktoberfest, which originated on Oct. 12, 1810, in Munich, Germany. It’s held annually, spanning over two weeks and ending on the first Sunday in October. 

It began as a celebration of the marriage between the crown prince of Bavaria, who later became King Louis I, and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. 

The festival includes horse races, music and the indulgence of food and drink as well as other festivities. 

Asia Wilson, the president of 31 Ambassadors, is proud of Hawktoberfest and the turnout. 

“We are celebrating the different breweries in our area by hosting this event,” Wilson said. “In the future, we hope to bring more to the festival like more food trucks, more breweries and other local musicians.” 

This was Hawktoberfest’s third run and it’s planned to be held next year as well. Along with the rest of 31 Ambassadors, the president hopes to hold the festival annually. 

Ashley Kimball, a senior communication major, attended the festival with her husband Landon Kimball and thoroughly enjoyed the event.

“Everyone’s having a good time. It’s very comfortable and the energy is great. We don’t regret coming,” Ashley said. 

“People are really enjoying themselves,” Landon said. “Having this festival is awesome because until you can travel to Germany for Oktoberfest, you can enjoy Hawktoberfest here.” 

Kennedy Jones, a junior pre-nursing major and member of 31 Ambassadors, said she believes Hawktoberfest is important for the community and its growth. 

“It’s getting the community together as a whole,” Jones said. 

Breweries that participated were Flying Tiger, Flying Heart, Great Raft and Three Birds with the help of distributor, Marsala Beverage. 

Along with an impressive selection of craft beers, plenty of food was served and student musicians performed at the festival. 

Great Raft and Flying Tiger Brewery representatives, Stephen Jester and Nathan Hexom, served samples at the event. 

“Great Raft poured served its first beer in October of 2013,” Jester said. “It’s good to see people support craft beers because local breweries offer creativity and variety.”

Flying Tiger representative, Nathan Hexom, takes pride in his craft and has been with Flying Tiger since its start in 2016. 

Hexom described Flying Tiger as “crazy hardworking” brewers and believes they are beneficial to the community by bringing people together.