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Volunteers pour beer at the Big Muddy Monster Brewfest in Murphysboro in 2014.

MURPHYSBORO — Now in its ninth year, the Big Muddy Monster Brew Fest will once again be returning to Riverside Park to offer attendees tastes from over 300 different craft brews.

“It started with a group of friends coming together ... we'd all grown up benefiting from the parks, and we wanted to help make things better,” Steve Bost of the group Friends of Murphysboro said. The group uses funds from the brew fests to fund different projects at Murphysboro parks.

“We wanted to make sure that there was money for the projects that aren't normally covered by taxes,” Bost said. “We're looking at establishing a foundation so we can continually fund different projects in the area.”

This year's brew fest looks to finalize the construction of a splash pad at Longfellow Park in Murphysboro.

Bost said that when it began, the Big Muddy Monster Brew Fest was the only one of its kind in the area.

“It's really grown to one of the bigger events around here,” he said. “We normally sell anywhere from 750 to 850 tickets in advance, and then an additional 20 to 40 percent at the gate on the day of the event.”

The Friends of Murphysboro has expanded this year’s fest to include shuttle service and a special Snapchat filter. The event is also on social media; find it on Facebook and Instagram by searching Big Muddy Monster Brew Fest. This year’s event, in addition to offering a variety of craft beers from different breweries, will also offer food for sale from local vendors.

Located at 2610 W. Riverside Park Road, the fest runs from 12 to 4 p.m. Saturday. Tickets this year are $35 for general admission when purchased in advance, or $40 at the gate. The limited number of tickets available for entry to the Imperial Tent are $50 when purchased in advance or $60 day of, though it should be noted that day-of purchase for Imperial Tent tickets cannot be guaranteed. Ticket prices include souvenir drinking glasses, as well as tasting tickets. Imperial Tent tickets additionally include entry an hour early to the festival, as well as a meal ticket, and use of two designated toilets.

“We're excited this year to offer shuttle service from Carbondale,” Bost said. “We will have a shuttle from Tres Hombres (119 N. Washington St. in Carbondale) operating for pickup starting at 10:30 a.m. and running every 15 minutes until 12:30 p.m.; the return shuttle runs on the same schedule from 2:30 to 4 p.m.”

There will also be shuttle service available in Murphysboro from Brews Brothers Taproom, at 1105 Chestnut St. Designated driver tickets will be available for purchase at the gate for $5, which include free craft sodas from vendors.

Attendees should make note, this is a 21 to enter event and ID will be expected. No pets or children are allowed, and paper tickets should be presented at the gate as cellphone displays will not be accepted for entry. The festival will go rain or shine.

“So far we've been lucky,” Bost said. “We've never been rained out yet.”

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