Brew fests are, as their name suggests, festive.

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Having a good time at a brew fest might seem like a natural thing to some, but for the uninitiated, it can be a bit overwhelming. There's a massive selection of beer, they usually last several hours, and oh, did we mention, there's beer?

Take the upcoming 3rd annual Gettysburg Brew Fest, held on Aug. 20. It's three-and-a-half hours long, features close to 50 local, state and national craft brewers, and each one will be offering several kinds of beer, said Curt Foreman, owner of Brew Fest Partners, a Wisconsin-based brew fest promotional company.

Brew fests are, as their name suggests, festive.

"We've been blessed with really nice, quality attendees," Foreman said. "It's a great social environment; this is not about being a high-falutin beer drinker."

Attending one puts you in a special club — you're paying $45, $50 to get in, but once there, you have access to unique brews that you just can't get anywhere else, Foreman said.

"Even if they've been to Troegs or the Appalachian Brewing Company, they're going to find new products," at the brew fest.

So it's important to keep a few things in mind when the goal is to have a good time:

Pace yourself

"This is not a race, it's an opportunity," Foreman said. "They (patrons) are looking for a unique experience."

Patrons are given a commemorative pint glass, with a 3-ounce line marked on it. They can receive a 3-ounce sample, or "pour" of each style of beer. But, if you take a sip and don't like it, don't feel obligated to finish it.

"You see people dumping the ones they don't care for," Foreman said.

Drink water and eat food

Foreman recommended drinking lots of water the day before the fest and then continuing to drink water during it.

"The combination of being out in the sun and drinking beer causes you to dehydrate," he said.

Food is also important, so there will be pizza samples for those waiting in line to get in, and five food trucks inside the fest.

Have a designated driver

Last year, the fest sold about 100 designated driver tickets at a reduced rate. Foreman said this year, they expect that number to increase.

Designated drivers, whose tickets cost less than half of a regular ticket, will be provided water, soda and light snacks. Also, Uber has partnered with the fest, offering a free first ride of up to $20.

There is also a shuttle that runs between nearby hotels and the fest. Yes, people travel to these events, Foreman said.

"Last year, we had people from 14 different states," he said.

If you go:

What: The 2016 Gettysburg Brew Fest.

When: Aug. 20, 3:30 - 7 p.m. (VIPs, which are sold-out, can enter at 2:30 p.m.)

Where: Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, 61 Seminary Ridge, Gettysburg, PA  17325

Tickets: On sale now, general admission is $45, $50 at the gate. Designated driver admission is $20. Buy your tickets on eventbrite.com.

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