Macon Beer Festival to benefit men’s thirst and health


The Macon Beer Fest Festival is a charity health fair disguised as a beer festival. Photo by Rylee Kirk

Maconites drank beer to help raise money for Pints for Prostates, a national campaign aiming to educate men about prostate cancer at The Macon Beer Festival on Aug. 25.

The festival is “a health fair disguised as a beer festival- it’s a party for a cause,” according to the official festival website. Georgia is ranked fourth in the number of prostate cancer cases reported nationwide.

The charity was founded after “beer journalist” Rick Lyle was diagnosed with and defeated prostate cancer, according to the Pints for Prostates website.

The festival will feature local beers and breweries as well as those from other states. The national brand, Sierra Nevada, will also be featured.

Free PSA blood tests will be offered to men age 40 and over.

A PSA test is a blood test evaluating the prostate-specific antigen. Elevated levels of PSA is found in the blood of men with prostate cancer, according to the National Cancer Institutes website.

“Another great thing about the beer is that it doesn’t affect the PSA blood test, but it does help grease the wheel to get men to get tested,” Steve Bell, organizer of the festival, said.

Last year the festival gave 35 thousand dollars worth of free blood tests, Bell said.

One in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and in 2017 there were 161,360 new cases, according to the Pints for Prostates website.

Bell organized the Macon Beer Festival after he defeated prostate cancer, and read about Lyle’s Pints for Prostates organization.

“I saw an opportunity to say to people that prostate cancer was not an old man’s disease,” Bell said.

The festival offers other events including music, a 5k and a river float.

During the race, children are encouraged to dress up like superheroes to “remind their heroes-Dad, Grandfathers, Uncles, and other males in their life – to not let this villain, Prostate Cancer, get the best of them,” according to the festival website.  

A “Virtual Race” will also be offered to enable participants to run and walk a 5k in their own time and at their own location.

“It’s an easy way to have people involved in what we do and gives them an opportunity to work around their busy schedules,” Bell said.

Virtual racers will receive a medal in the mail after completion of the race.

When detected early, there is a 100 percent five year survival rate, according to the Pints for Prostates website.

“Men cannot put their heads in the sand when it comes to their health,” Bell said.