Funfest mixes beer, tattoos, dogs

July 01, 1996|By Craig Timberg | Craig Timberg,SUN STAFF

You might think with 20 bands, 170 kegs and more women than they could possibly count, Greg Burkhardt and Seve Bellone might have nothing more on their minds than a good time at yesterday's South of the Harbor Funfest.

But with their 30th birthdays looming, and summertime vanity raging, Burkhardt and Bellone looked right past their giant-sized cups of beer and the exposed midriffs of their companions for something else -- something lasting, something painful.

"We're checking out everybody's tattoos," said Bellone of Timonium, who plans to get his own, perhaps a family crest, next week.

Tattoos aside, the fifth annual Funfest -- which doubled as the first Maryland Craft Beer Festival -- seemed a mostly sunny, sudsy success. Organizers said more than 20,000 people crammed into the six-block area around Cross Street Market to drink some brews and listen to music from country to jazz to reggae.

Many festival-goers paid $10 for a special mug and enough tickets to taste half-cups of seven varieties of beers. Nine Maryland microbreweries, including Baltimore's own Clipper City, DeGroen's, Brimstone, Oliver's and Sisson's, had booths. Organizers said they had sold 9,000 of the special mugs and would run their 170 kegs dry by 6 p.m., an hour before the scheduled end of the festival.

Some people, such as David McMorrough, 27, a painter from Annapolis, took the beer-tasting seriously. He went from Sisson's to Wild Goose to Oliver's Irish Red. But others, such as University of Baltimore law students Tessa Laspia, 26, and Kelly McCormick, 30, started on Sisson's Cherry Orchard Amber Wheat and stuck to it. But they had one complaint: Dog abuse. xTC "You see these dogs. They're miserable," said McCormick, noting the many pooches at the festival. "Our dogs, they're in air conditioning. They're happy."

Maybe so. But a few feet away, a white boxer named Cashous stood by his owner, a one-man-show of tattoos named Jason Schwind, 25.

He has black cats, flaming dice and bikini-clad women crawling up his arms and across his upper chest -- not to mention a small metal bar pierced through his tongue. But who was getting all the attention? Cashous, who reveled in the coos and pats of passers-by.

"I don't think he minds," Schwind said.

Pub Date: 7/01/96

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