Spending Hours In Line For A Snack At The 1st Annual San Gabriel Dumpling & Beer Fest

Posted: October 7, 2015 in Beer, Events, Food, Los Angeles
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The city of San Gabriel held their 1st Annual San Gabriel Dumpling & Beer Fest last week on Thursday night. Taking place at the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse, this event represents the San Gabriel Valley’s spin on Oktoberfest by combining the festivities of a traditional Oktoberfest with the culture of the San Gabriel Valley, a predominantly Chinese-American region. The organizers closed off S Mission Dr directly in front of the playhouse to set up booths for the food vendors all serving up hot dumplings. Visitors of all ages could enter this area for free to line up for dumplings from the food booths and food trucks. A fenced off area directly in front of the playhouse held a beer fest, where nine breweries (Stone, Golden Road, Hangar 24, Firestone, Deschutes, Bootlegger’s, Ballast Point, Tap It, Angel City) all brought a small keg to pour for those who bought the wristband to receive beer pours until the kegs blew. In addition, this fenced off area had a stage for live music throughout the night. While this all sounds fine and dandy, the fun stopped there.

For a first time holding this event, perhaps the organizers bit off more than they could chew. Perhaps they marketed the event too well, reaching thousands of people that all swarmed to this event as if expecting free handouts. Counting the number of food vendors, they had six dumpling booths, two dessert booths, and two food trucks. Despite this, every vendor clearly had hundreds of people in line for a few dumplings since the vendors started to run low on food quite early in the night. Though this event only lasted three hours, standing in line for one of the booths took up to 90 minutes from getting in line to waiting for the food to come out. This already consumed half of the event’s duration, not to mention the exorbitant prices for dumplings. I mean, who would think of paying $5 for three bite-size dumplings? The last time I waited in a line this long for food, I spent 4.5 hours for the Grilled Cheese Truck back in 2011.

As for the beer, I could do without it. Who thinks of holding a beer fest with unlimited pours on a weeknight? None of the breweries sent a rep to this event, so nobody could talk to someone directly from a brewery or ask about the brewery. The breweries only brought their basic beers, compared to other bigger beer festivals where breweries often bring something rare or strong for the people to remember. Despite a $25 price tag for these unlimited beer tastings, the beer felt like a side pairing for all the dumplings, if anyone could even get any dumplings before time ran out or the vendors ran out.

While dozens of people have made complaints about the event not having enough food vendors, the organizers have done a great job at deleting all negative posts and masking it with thank-you posts and other testimonial posts. Sadly this means that San Gabriel intends to bring this event back next year. Does this mean that they will fix the mistakes of this year’s event in time for next year? Or does this mean that they will simply rehash the event and allow it irritate many visitors once again? Visit the event’s Facebook album and leave a comment letting them know what you think. Do note that they will delete your comment very soon after you post it, but at least you let someone else know how you feel!

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