BooZ & BrewZ Founder Combines Passions to Benefit SONC

BooZ & BrewZ is back for a third year on October 7, relocating to Downtown Woodland to bring together a unique combination of breweries, local eats, live music and an all-out Halloween theme to benefit Special Olympics Northern California.

 “BooZ & BrewZ was an idea born while I was at a local beer fest,” said founder and organizer, Sheena Kawakami. “Beer festivals were gaining popularity and I wanted to blend Halloween with beer to offer a more unique experience.”

Kawakami, a former Haunted House owner, started the event from scratch and has worked with her dedicated team (“a small but mighty bunch!”) to change and grow the event each year. Last year’s large park layout and costume contest will turn into a smaller, more intimate Zombeer Garden that allows for a focus on more creative décor; and everyone dressed in costume this year will be entered into a raffle to win a range of gift baskets and other prizes. In addition, Kawakami has invited some classic car owners to creep out their vehicles and display them inside the venue for a chance to win one of the coveted Tombstone Trophies.

“My goal is to keep BooZ & BrewZ evolving and to involve the community we ‘invade’ as much as possible,” she said. “It's also important for me to help promote the Haunt community so I try to include Haunted Houses or Halloween-themed businesses. Costumes will always be encouraged, live music offered, some great food to eat, and, of course, craft beers to drink.”

Kawakami’s goal for BooZ and BrewZ is not to be the largest festival around – but to instead offer a more engaging experience for the guests and the vendors that keeps them both coming back year after year.

Above all, however, she wants people to have fun while fundraising and is driven to use the event to support Special Olympics athletes.

“I had been looking for a meaningful way to give back to the community... to make a difference,” she explained. “I wanted our efforts to benefit a charity that followed through with their mission statement; where donations clearly went to where they were promised. In the case of SONC, raised funds, and even more importantly, love and compassion, gets delivered to the athletes and their programs. I am humbled to be able to contribute to such an amazing organization.”

Kawakami’s efforts on the BooZ and BrewZ event raised more than $11,000 last year for SONC and she credits the individuals and groups around her for helping to bolster the event’s success.

“I will be forever grateful for the breweries, bands, and volunteers that donate their time, talent, and efforts to support us and our fundraising for SONC,” she said. “The contributions of our sponsors and vendors help ensure we have a successful event every year and I am thankful to the cities and communities that have allowed us in.” 

BooZ and BrewZ will be held from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7 at Heritage Plaza in Woodland. Tickets are $30 for the full experience; $25 for military and first responders; and $5 for all the fun but none of the alcohol. All guests must be 21 years of age or older.

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