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5:21 PM Mon, Nov. 12th

Party in the Pines draws record number of attendees

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier<br> 
SKA Brewing's Abby Patton pours beer for David Drever, Valerie Schweda and Carly Weideman during the Party in the Pines at the Park Plaza Shopping Center in Prescott Saturday night.

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier<br> SKA Brewing's Abby Patton pours beer for David Drever, Valerie Schweda and Carly Weideman during the Party in the Pines at the Park Plaza Shopping Center in Prescott Saturday night.

Just as Party in the Pines kicked off at 5 p.m. Saturday, June 6, this is what Alexa Skjei, one of the coordinators for the event, said about the anticipated attendance:

"We're hoping to break 1,000."

By the end of the event at 10 p.m., that anticipated attendance was blown well out of the water. "I think we hit 1,500," Skjei said.

This was the Prescott Area Young Professionals' (PAYP) fifth year hosting the beer, wine and spirits festival.

The event was first coordinated in 2010 in the parking lot of the now-closed Pine Cone Inn, and has since been hosted in the much larger parking lot outside of Park Plaza Liquor and Deli - one of the primary partners for the event - at the corner of Goodwin and McCormick streets.

Last year, about 750 people passed through and featured one food and about 20 beer and liquor vendors.

This year, PAYP pumped it up significantly by having six food vendors and more than doubling the number of alcohol vendors.

As the night progressed, however, the 60-plus vendors were clearly not enough for the much larger than expected crowd.

By 9 p.m., PAYP stopped selling drink tickets because the booze was running low; and by 9:30 p.m., every drop of alcohol was tapped.

Even with the shortage, the party went on. Throughout the evening, people were dancing as Cross Eyed Possum and Deep Soul Radio put on killer performances.

This event was Deep Soul Radio's last performance as a complete crew. Their keyboardist and lead vocalist, Brett Miller, decided to stick it out for Party in the Pines before heading to Riverside, California, to continue his music career. It may be goodbye for Miller, but it's not farewell.

"I'll pop back," Miller said. "It's not that far."

As PAYP's annual fundraiser, Party in the Pines' success this year will show in the Prescott community, for most of the organization's funds go toward local charities and scholarships.

After such a big night, it will be interesting to see what PAYP does to top it next year.

Follow Max Efrein on Twitter @mefrein. Reach him at 928-445-3333 ext. 1105, or 928-642-7864.