Beer, bratwurst and blues on tap at charity fundraiser
Partygoers go casual to help Crossroads Urban Center serve low-income Utahns.
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Not all charity benefits are black-tie affairs.

Flip-flops and casual wear made up the dress code Sunday as the Crossroads Urban Center threw its third annual Beer, Blues and Brats benefit party at the Community Co-op in Salt Lake City.

Robert "Bip" Daniels, a Crossroads board member who devised the beer party in 2010, said those attending came with two goals: "One, have fun, and two, support Crossroads."

The several dozen partygoers enjoyed bratwurst and sausages donated by Colosimo's, beer from Epic Brewing (which donated the purchase price back to the center), plus beans, coleslaw and salad. They participated in a silent auction, featuring gifts tied around a beer (or root beer) theme.

Entertainment included belly-dancing by The Fourteenth Ward, a local troupe, and jazz/blues covers by The Number Ones, a Salt Lake City combo that specializes in versions of former No. 1 hits.

Proceeds will support Crossroads Urban Center's mission to provide food and clothing to low-income people in the Salt Lake City area.

Glenn Bailey, the center's executive director, said Crossroads has one of the busiest emergency food pantries in Utah. The food pantry and thrift store serve about 65,000 low-income Utahns a year, Bailey said.

Sunday's event comes at a critical time for Crossroads, Bailey said, because donations tend to drop during the summer — but demand for the center's services remains steady.

"In the summer, when people forget about giving, we're still here trying to help the same numbers of people," Bailey said, adding that donations are highest around Christmas and Thanksgiving.

Adding to the demand on the food pantry, Bailey said, is the fact that school is out during the summer — and many low-income children receive free school lunch and breakfast.

Crossroads' supporters are happy to help, Daniels said, and pay $45 a ticket for a Sunday afternoon party.

"Most of the people are here to support Crossroads, [not] to get $45 worth of beer," Daniels said. "Nobody ever leaves these events drunk."

spmeans@sltrib.com