Imagine Nation

The beers on tap at Imagine Nation Brewing Co. on West Broadway in Missoula.

DAVID ERICKSON, Missoulian

If you want to chat with city leaders about how to create social change, Saturday’s grand opening party at Imagine Nation Brewing Co. in Missoula is a good place to start.

Brewery owners Robert Rivers and Fernanda Krum have decided to turn their official launch celebration into a daylong festival of art, culture, music and interaction.

Missoula Mayor John Engen and United Way of Missoula County CEO Susan Hay Patrick will be on hand to moderate a panel discussion on how ordinary people can initiate societal changes from 3 to 4 p.m.

“It’s going to be a really interesting panel, I think,” Krum said. “Then we are opening it up for questions and encouraging the public to share their experiences on how they see themselves creating social change. We want to talk about empowering people and we want them to give their own experience from their work. We want something a little different than the traditional speech.”

Krum said Hay Patrick has been a “big supporter” of the brewery since it opened this year with an attached room called the Center for Community Transformation, which the owners say they want people to use for positive change.

Ellen Buchanan, director of the Missoula Redevelopment Agency, and Jenny Montgomery of Montgomery Distillery will participate in the discussion as well.

"(Rivers and Krum) founded the brewery not just as a place to enjoy beer but as a center for community conversations and transformation, and that was their vision from the get-go," Hay Patrick said. "They asked me to talk about how one effects change and positive effects in the community, and I am happy to do it. I think that, often, people's instinct is to do something to help others and they often don't know how to do it. We just want to give them thoughts about what's worked for us and what's important."

The party runs from noon to 8 p.m., and there also will be live music, an art exhibit and a theatrical improv workshop for kids from the Missoula Children’s Theatre from 1 to 2:30 p.m. The brewery is located at 1151 W. Broadway.

“Kevin Harrington of the Missoula Children's Theatre will be here, and he’s very outgoing,” Krum said. “He will guide an hour-and-a-half workshop, working through expression and theater with the kids.”

There will be a community drum circle on the outdoor patio from noon to 12:45 p.m.

“There will be more than 20 drummers, and whoever wants to join can,” Krum said. “It will be loud, but it will be so beautiful.”

Three members of the band Local Yokel will be playing from 1 to 3 p.m., the Caleb Van Gelder Trio jazz group will perform from 4 to 5 p.m and Wartime Blues will finish things off from 6 to 8 p.m.

Kim Maynard, a Mansfield Fellow in International Affairs, will talk about “compassion without borders” from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., and Growler Fills beer blogger Alan McCormick will be on hand to discuss how professionals learn to appreciate beer. 

Local food trucks will serve pizza, hot dogs and other food, and independent filmmaker and artist Rob Whitehair will present a show titled “Wild Propaganda.”

After the brewery closes, the Top Hat Lounge at 134 W. Front St. will host an after party featuring Imagine Nation’s beers on tap. The Big Sky Mudflaps will play a free show at 9 p.m. to celebrate the band's 40th anniversary.

“We are really looking forward to it,” Krum said. “On Sunday, I will be in my bed trying to remember what just happened. We are trying to offer something good with quality, and everyone is going to do it from the heart.”

For more information and a full schedule, visit imaginenationbrewing.com.

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