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New beer garden at music festival a hit

Common Ground instructor Jeanne McDougall plays for Kevin and Barbara Cross during the Common Ground on the Hill Festival at the Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster Saturday.
Common Ground instructor Jeanne McDougall plays for Kevin and Barbara Cross during the Common Ground on the Hill Festival at the Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster Saturday. (DAVE MUNCH/STAFF PHOTO , Carroll County Times)

For those who turned out to the first day of the Common Ground on the Hill Festival Saturday, music, food and various vendors were not the only things to enjoy.
A new beer garden, where attendees could buy $5 beer and wine, was also available for the first time.
"It's a nice touch for me," said Mark Carroll, who stood with his wife, Gardin Carroll, drinking a beer in the garden and watching performers on the stage, which was within viewing distance. "I enjoy alcohol from time to time."
The beer garden was added to attract more people to the 16-year-old music festival, which features traditional roots music. It was also added to fit in with this year's New Orleans theme, said Walt Michael, executive director of Common Ground on the Hill.
"Who goes to New Orleans and does not have a beer?" Michael asked.
Saturday's festival, which was held at Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster, was the culmination of Common Ground on the Hill, two weeks of performances and classes for artists in dance, music and art that were held at McDaniel College in Westminster.
The festival featured musical acts playing various types of music ranging from international to Zydeco, a music that evolved in Louisiana that is a mix of Cajun, blues and other musical styles.
Michael noted the beer for the garden was supplied by Pub Dog Brewing in Westminster, because organizers wanted to support a local brewery.
"We are supporting the economy of the community," Michael said. "There is no major beer sponsor like Budweiser or Natty Boh."
Tracy Welch, of Westminster, said she was happy the festival organizers chose to go with a local brewery rather than a larger beer distributor. Welch sat in a lawn chair under a tree in the beer garden drinking a White Dog, a Pug Dog-brewed wheat beer made with orange peels.
"I think that's great," Welch said of Pub Dog supplying the beer for the garden. "People come from all over and they don't know we brew good beer here."
Bryan Baltz, who works for Pub Dog, said their involvement was to help support a local event.
"It's a good way to give back and be part of the community," Baltz said. "It's a nice way to get in touch with the people who are buying your beer."
The beer garden was pretty quiet for the most part, with no rowdiness or other bad behavior to worry about, said Suzanne Nida, a volunteer for the festival who was also overseeing the beer garden. Those who wanted to drink needed to stay within the beer garden limits, she said.
"It is very low key," she said. "There is no one drinking too much."

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