Bob Groeneveld/Langley Advance Times
The numbers of different kinds of root beer there are will surprise most folks who think in terms of drive-in restaurants or their grocery store shelves.
How about 50?
Or how about 60?
Both are numbers that figure directly into this weekend’s Root Beer Festival at Douglas Park in Langley City.
And while the 50 different types of root beer available for tasting at the festival, and the 60 varieties from around North America that will be for sale there may already seem surprising, Sherri Martin says there are actually hundreds of kinds of root beer made across the continent.
Martin operates Sticky’s Candy on the one-way strip in downtown Langley City with her brother, Kelly Bouchard, whom she says “really knows root beer.”
Her niece, Kirstie Bouchard, is a pastry chef who provides the shop’s consumers with a variety of delectables… including root beer pastries.
“There is root beer candy, root beer ice cream, root beer caramelized onions…” Martin’s list continues into almost forever.
The complexity and variety of root beer offerings is emphasized when she opens a large glass-front refrigerator filled with more different root beers than an average person should be able to imagine.
Imaginations are bound to be stretched still farther at Douglas Park on Saturday, May 25, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
There will be rides and a bouncy castle for kids, and there will be music by Six Gun Romeo.
But the real star of the show will be root beer – it is the Fourth Annual Root Beer Festival, after all.
There will be root beer floats and root beer growlers, root beer fudge and root beer pastries, root beer candy and root beer cotton candy mini donuts.
There will be a root beer marketplace.
Martin advises people to bring a wagon if they are intending to buy special, unusual, or favourite root beers from among the 60 different varieties that will be coming in for the festival from around North America.
“And root beer can get pretty heavy,” she points out.
There will also be a tasting tent, where festival-goers can taste a wide variety of root beers.
“They can be flavoured with nutmeg and ginger and butterscotch…” Martin gets into another of those root beer lists that seem to include everything.
“They can be creamy or they can be spicy,” she adds.
The festival has been moved to Douglas Park, in partnership with Langley City, because the overwhelming success of last year’s event made it clear that it has outgrown the quaint Sticky’s candy store at 20464 Fraser Hwy.
The thousands expected for this year’s festival can expect free admission, but have to pay for kids’ rides and root beer tasting.