Sixth annual Hanz Brew Fest set to honor Hononegah graduate's memory


On Saturday, Oct. 1, friends, family and the community will come together once again to raise a toast to Todd Hansmeier at Settler’s Park for the sixth annual Hanz Brew Fest. Over 100 beers will be featured from noon until 6 p.m.  Proceeds go to the Todd Hansmeier Scholarship Fund.

Todd Hansmeier was a son, brother, uncle and friend to all who knew him. Hansmeier tragically lost his life on June 30, 2014. Todd was known to have had a contagious smile, which is one of the characteristics shared by friends at a July 3, 2014 vigil. This remembrance honored someone who made an enormous impact on many.

Hansmeier graduated from Hononegah High School in 1995. In high school, Todd was involved in sports and music from an early age. He played club soccer through the Hononegah Lions and participated in track and soccer. He was involved in many musicals throughout high school and college. Hansmeier continued his education at Rock Valley College, where he performed in jazz and show choirs. Hansmeier advanced to Eastern Illinois University where he was a Dean’s List student and received a degree in finance in 2000. He was inducted into the Beta Gamma Sigma honors society. “He graduated from college with a finance degree... He was always good with numbers and loved to help people, so finance seemed to be a natural fit for him,” said Todd's brother Brian.

“Todd spent many years growing his career as an insurance representative. He worked at a couple different finance and insurance agencies before his last job, which was his favorite and most rewarding. He worked at Apple Insurance Agency and was expanding his client base, in preparation to eventually be in charge of that agency - which was his ultimate goal, “said Brian.

Hansmeier returned to the Rockford area and joined the IGNITE group (for young professionals). He met many great friends through IGNITE and volunteered for lots of activities with them as well. He always played in the charity kickball tournament, played on a team for Mud Volleyball, and played in the charity dodgeball tournament - all in the local area to support local charities.

Todd loved playing many different sports; volleyball, soccer, bags, ping pong, kickball, snowmobiling with his brother, golfing, and playing tag with his niece and nephew. He also enjoyed watching sports, especially the Chicago Bears and the Chicago Cubs. He also took on challenges while playing poker, video games, fantasy football, and trivia with friends as well as cruising on his motorcycle.

“He loved playing beer pong with his friends - even competing in tournaments. He was always on at least a couple sand volleyball teams during the summer months. He never missed out on the opportunity to live life the fullest and enjoy the people he loved the most,” shared Brian.

“Todd made friends with everyone he met; his outgoing personality drew people to him. He had a big heart and went to any and all lengths to help friends in need, even when it created hardship for himself. He was kind, always happy, honest, and will be remembered for his “Todd-isms,” reflects Brian.

“I wanted to do something that would help my brother’s legacy live on, something that would benefit the community and his alma mater,"said Brian.

One weekend after Todd's passing, Brian was up in Minocqua, WI visiting friends and there was a beer festival going on, which Todd always went to. All of his local friends were up there celebrating in Todd's honor. They invited Brian to the festival in place of Todd that year. Brian then decided that would be the perfect way to honor Todd's memory.

“Todd liked beer, liked to have fun with his friends, and never missed out on an opportunity to support the local festivals or events. That is where the idea of putting together the Hanz Brew Fest came about.” Brian knew that this event would be something that his brother would attend and he would be honored to have his name attached to a great event that helps to raise money for a scholarship. Todd was affectionately known to some of his friends as "Hanz" - hence the name. It was even a part of Todd's email address.

This year Todd’s family is continuing to honor his memory through the Hanz Brew Fest. The cost to take part is $45 per person. All must be 21 years or older to have beer or a selection of wine from After the Vine. A price of $15 gets designated drivers in the gate. All non-designated drivers will receive a wristband, and a souvenir glass for 15 samples.

Entertainment and more are being offered. Try your hand at Jumbo Jenga, Jumbo Beer Pong, Bags or other fun activities. Enjoy food from local vendors. If unable to attend, donations will also be accepted. Details on how to give can be found on the Hanz Brew Fest page.

The festival is planned and sponsored by local businessmen Brian Hansmeier (Executive Lawn Service), Ryan Asta (Rookie’s Pub & Grill and Louie's Tap House), and Ryan Rydell (RyCOM Creative Corp).

After a successful inaugural event in 2015, enough money was raised to present a $2,500 scholarship to Allison Limke, a graduating senior at Hononegah High School. Limke was the first of 15 scholarships that have been awarded at the HCHS Scholarship night since the first Hanz Brew Fest.

On Thursday evening, Sept. 29, Louie's Tap House hosted a Hanz Fest ticket giveaway and pre-party. Ribs will be on special along with a variety of hot slots and plenty of games.  On Wednesday Sept. 28, After the Vine gave away a pair of tickets.

Tickets may be purchased on Eventbrite or at the door.

All are invited for a day of fun in the name of someone who placed a high value on education.

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