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Veronica Camp: Crafting a New Path with Pride

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Good people, good food, good music, good venue and great beer! These are the end result of Central Valley Brewfest and the hard work, dedication and creative mind of Veronica Camp. What started as a small idea has grown into one of the most popular craft beer events in the Central Valley. Veronica has created an event specific to a rapidly growing market of craft beer enthusiasts while using her extensive background of event planning and knowledge of the spirits industry. 

Raised in Ripon from the age of four, Veronica grew up loving dance and cheerleading. She attended Modesto Junior College before moving on to California State University, Stanislaus, from which she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communication with an emphasis in public relations. During her college years, she missed the thrill of performing and decided to try out for the San Francisco 49ers Gold Rush Cheerleading Team. She was 20 years old and auditioning for the first time. “When I got the news that I didn’t make the team that year, I didn’t let that stop me. I learned from my mistakes and worked harder for the following year’s audition,” remembered Veronica. “The next year, there were 32 spots available on the team and 28 returners. The numbers were intimidating,” she admitted. Veronica’s hard work paid off and she was invited to be a part of the Gold Rush team. She spent three years cheering on the sidelines and two years as an active alumna. “My experience with the 49ers organization was a gift. I have sisters for life from my time with the Gold Rush,” Veronica smiled. 

The Beginning
As her college graduation was near, Veronica set her sights on her career. Her tenacious spirit landed her an interview with E&J Gallo Winery, her dream destination to embark on her career goals. “My experience with the Gold Rush helped me from the beginning, even before the in-person interview with Gallo. I learned how to speak eloquently and how to present myself in front of an audience. I gained self-confidence that helped me believe I could not only do the job I was applying for, but I truly believed I was the best candidate for the position,” Veronica explained. She spent five years working in the event planning department at E&J Gallo Winery. As a national event project manager for premium wines and spirits, Veronica traveled throughout the United States, coordinating and working events promoting E&J Gallo Winery products. 

“I loved my time and experience with Gallo, but after five years of travel I wanted to focus more on my family and I decided to take a different opportunity as the director of service excellence with Emmanuel Medical Center,” continued Veronica. As her family grew, Veronica was motivated to create her own path, a new path with a niche market, craft beer. “I wanted to do something exciting. I missed the thrill of new product launches and event planning that I had experienced in the alcohol industry. I knew I needed to do something different, and I knew I had to create the opportunity for myself!” she exclaimed. 

The New Concept
Veronica loved the growth she was seeing in the craft beer space and realized there were no “beer-specific” events here in the Valley. She consulted her colleagues at E&J Gallo Winery and took a leap as she created Central Valley Brewfest! The first Central Valley Brewfest took place in 2012 with 300 people showing up for tastings with 14 breweries. The second year, Veronica doubled the attendance and 600 beer-loving enthusiasts enjoyed more breweries and delicious food from local food trucks. This spring, on May 9, she anticipates 3,000 people will attend. The event has grown into two locations at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in Turlock. The indoor space holds 24 breweries featuring interactive booths such as the Stella Artois Airstream or the Firestone Walker western town. Outdoors will host the live music with bands such as the Valley Cats, more breweries and top-rated food trucks from around California. “Many of the breweries will feature special release beers for Brewfest, giving our crowd a unique experience. The crowd is a community of craft beer-savvy people who enjoy talking with brewers and learning more about the beers featured at the event,” she continued. 

Veronica attributes much of the success of the Valley’s first beer-centric event to her distributors and breweries, especially Dust Bowl Brewing based in Turlock. “Michelle Peterson and Scott Chaffee from Dust Bowl are strong allies. They helped connect me with other craft beer distributors and breweries, which led to growth of the event,” she elaborated. Veronica admits that she relies heavily on her friends and family. “The event calls for 100 volunteers. I have the best team anyone could ask for. My friends and family show up, they work hard with smiles on their faces, always willing to go the extra mile for an event attendee or a vendor. They are the best!” she declared. 

Risk and Reward
“My children are my motivation. Creating this path for my career was a risk. The reward is spending time with my family and this decision has allowed me to be the parent I wanted to be!” confessed Veronica. Her two children, Damon and Myah, keep her busy with school activities and sports. Her daughter is following in her footsteps and is a talented young dancer. “My husband, my parents and my siblings are 100 percent supportive. I couldn’t do this without them cheering me on,” smiled Veronica. 

Veronica has taken the Valley by storm in the creation of the Central Valley Brewfest. Her love for event planning and pride in the Central Valley have brought this popular event to life. Veronica has partnered with Five Window Beer Company to produce a summer concert featuring one of Nashville’s hottest country music stars. The University of the Pacific is set to host the concert and Veronica is thrilled to bring back a country music event to the college. Veronica has partnered to produce an event with Cumulus Radio focusing on people’s love of dogs and craft beer set to take place in October 2020. 

Meeting Veronica and learning more about the events she is bringing to the Valley is inspirational. Her smile is infectious, her laughter is contagious and her passion and pride for the Central Valley pours out of her as she shares with excitement all that is to come in 2020! Come join me on May 9 and experience all that Central Valley Brewfest has to offer.

For more information on Central Valley Brewfest, please visit cvbrewfest.com.