Get the Party Started Early: How To Pass the Time Standing in Line for GABF

By Julia Yugel and Lisa Bongiovanni

Without a doubt, the best part about standing in line for the Great American Beer festival is that you know what is waiting for you in the near future. Once you complete the long cattle march around the Convention Center, have your ID checked and tickets checked and receive your wristband, it’s on to the mecca of Beer, where you will be presented with your tiny goblet of amazingness (aka a small plastic cup).

The worst part about standing in line for GABF, however, is that you’re standing in a line for a long time.

eager crowd

The end of the line.

It doesn’t have to be all bad though. You’re surrounded by thousands of America’s most devoted beer drinkers who are hopefully just as excited as you are to be there. Here’s a few tips to entertain yourself for the few hours leading up to the big event.

What’s better than a pretzel necklace? A pretzel hat to go along with it.

1) Make Your Pretzel Necklace

Pretzels are EVERYWHERE. And for good reason. They go fantastically with the loads of beer you’ll be drinking, and nothing hits the spot better than a string of pretzels when you’re drunk, hungry, and trapped in the convention center where the only available food is $9 tiny pizzas. Standing in line is a great time to make your inner procrastinator feel less shameful. Bring your supplies and get to stringing. (Author’s note: bring a small pair of scissors, pocketknife, or friend with unusually sharp teeth to cut the string).

If you have extra supplies, pay it forward and share the joy with an individual in line who looks sad and pretzeless. It’s also a good conversation starter with a stranger.

2) Play ‘Would You Rather’ or ask other thought provoking life questions

Would you rather never be able to drink again or turn into the Hulk whenever you did? If you could only drink one alcohol for the rest of your life, what would it be? Take the time to answers questions like these thoughtfully and not only will the time pass quickly, but you’ll also learn new things about your friends. Pull some strangers into the game to keep it more interesting.

3) Create a Plan of Action for when you get inside

What breweries are offering special beers? Is there a region you want to target? Popular booths you want to hit? If you’ve been too lazy to look up any of this ahead of time, now’s a great time to do it. Visit the festival’s website for information on the breweries and events, look through blogs for suggestions on beers to try and outline a plan to make the most of your time.

4) Play ‘Marry, Boff, Kill’

This game, popularized by the television show 30 Rock, is simple: one person chooses three people and the the other members of the group have to say which one they would marry, which one they would ‘boff’ (look it up if you don’t get it), and which one they would kill. The players must give justification for their choices. This game can be played using celebrities or people you know, but for the most fun, choose the people in line around you. This is probably the best way to spend your time.

5) Scavenger Hunt

Smallest hats found at the entire festival? Check.

Do you have party planning overachievers in your group? People who love to create things and keep others entertained? Trick them into creating a GABF Line Scavenger Hunt for you. Create a list of 5-10 challenges that individuals or small teams have to accomplish while standing in line and take pictures of. Come up with an awesome prize to make it competitive, such as winner gets the best sleeping arrangement, or extra pretzels, etc.

Examples for challenges:

  • Take a picture of the person with the best costume
  • Take a picture of the person with the worst t-shirt with a say
  • Find someone who traveled the farthest to come to GABF

A challenge for all attendees who have the inevitable wrap-around-the-building-8-people-across line in their near futures: find someone, ANYONE, anyone at all standing in the line that is frowning. The line is long, intimidating and even daunting but it really is the precursory party before the inside greatness of delicious beer.

Share these pictures with us! When you tweet, instagram, foursquarify, facebookery, or share with any other social media platform, use our hashtag #WagonGABF and we’ll share with the world.

About Lisa Bongiovanni


A Colorado native with an obsession for everything Colorado, beer, booze, more beer, and of course, my dog who is obviously named after an alcoholic beverage.