RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Brewgaloo, the largest craft beer festival in the state, is returning to downtown Raleigh.
The two-day festival features more than 150 craft breweries and starts Friday.
Brewgaloo is growing, with more than a dozen of that craft breweries participating this year for the first time ever. Plus, the event will feature popular food trucks, vendors and games.
The Sneaky Penguin based out of north Raleigh is getting prepared for their debut in the festival. Chris Nadeau said he just opened in October and feels like this festival will be great exposure.
"We're hoping to attract a lot of people to come up to North Raleigh to visit our taproom," Nadeau said.
Nadeau and his team are excited to show off what they've been working on.
"We had to brew separate batches just to bring down there because it's a lot of beer we have to bring but we also want to keep some for our taproom," he said.
On the other end of the spectrum, Crank Arm Brewing is returning to Brewgaloo for its 10th year.
"We get new patrons. We get existing patrons that sort of travel between Brewgaloo itself and come back and see us here at the taproom since we're only two blocks away," owner Adam Eckhardt said. "They try our beer. They'll hopefully come see us the day of and then bring their friends, tell them about the good word of Crank Arm."
Eckhardt and his team use the event as a chance for some de facto market research.
"The keg that kicks first is going to be a huge indicator to what's popular," he said.
North Carolina's craft brewing industry has grown by leaps and bounds. According to the Brewers Association, the state had just 59 craft breweries in 2011, but by 2021 it boasted 364 -- good enough to rank 10th in the country.
The event also gave some people around the Triangle a chance to be out and decompress. So did the Carolina Hurricanes playoff game even though the team lost on the road.
Some like Tate Moeller watched Friday night at the Carolina Ale House on Glenwood South.
"The one neat thing about living in Raleigh is the Canes are not only the best sport in North Carolina but it's also the only pro sport here," she said. "It's still the post COVID feeling and people are still coming out and sports are a great way to bring people together."
Others watched the game at the new hopping place Sports and Social in Cary. A former Canes defenseman was there to watch too.
"It's a great interaction with the fan base over a common goal hoping the team wins and enjoying ourselves in an adult environment," Ward said.
The Canes weren't the only attraction at Fenton.
Nick Nelson and his soon to be wife took a break from wedding planning to enjoy the rooftop weather.
"And the food," he said. "It's good to be out to enjoy the weather and having some fun."
First Alert Day: Level 2 severe storm risk Saturday
Brewgaloo organizers and attendees are hoping the rain holds off, but the event will continue rain or shine.
"The weather is perfect, it's supposed to rain Saturday but it's something about the crowds," said Adam Bennett of Garner. "Its nice to be part of the public again."
In the event of thunder or lightning, the festival will pause and encourage everyone to seek shelter for at least 30 minutes.
New this year, businesses participating in the festival can sign up for a text alert system that will inform them of any severe weather in the area.
Brewgaloo Saturdays have drawn around 50,000 attendees in the past. Organizers expect this year's Friday to be busier than usual, due to fears over Saturday's weather.
The festival is free to attend, but you will need to purchase tickets in order to try out the beers.
The festival runs from 6-10 p.m. on Friday, and then from 12-8 p.m. Saturday.