For the third year, the Beer, Footy and Food Festival returns to Marrickville’s Henson Park – an annual event all about bringing back the old-school ritual of inner-west rugby league fans watching the Newtown Jets “from the hill”.

Gig-booking company Music and Booze Co (which books The Lansdowne Hotel, among others) is behind the event (along with the Newtown Jets), created to remind people of the beauty of a Saturday afternoon hanging with the family on a blanket watching a game of footy on the grass – an option that has almost disappeared in Sydney as football grounds become arenas.

“[Music and Booze Co founder] Matt Rule’s nostalgia is what inspired the event,” says Sam Nielson from the Music and Booze Co. Rule has been an influential figure in Sydney’s live-music scene, most specifically when he was owner of the Annandale Hotel, back when it was a renowned live-music venue. “Matt saw the sterility of modern sporting venues and lamented a time when the game was about community identity.”

To attract a crowd, there will be rides, jumping castles, a petting zoo, a slide and face painting, as well as double the food vendors of last year, all pulled from the inner west. There’s Bovine & Swine, Arepa Australia, Burgers By Josh, Soul Burger, The Lord Gladstone, Koi Dessert Bar, Cow & the Moon Gelato and more.

For drinks, there will be 20 local craft brewers, including Grifter Brewing Co, Batch Brewing Co, Willie the Boatman, Wayward Brewing Co, Yulli’s Brews and Young Henrys.

Organisers are hoping this will all attract 8972 punters to watch the Newtown Jets clash with the Penrith Panthers. Why such a very specific number you might ask?

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According to “Newtown Jets folklore”, in the 1990s at a miserably wet game, home commentator John Lynch announced a crowd size of 8972. In reality it was less than a hundred, and has become an ongoing joke since then. “Last year’s event, the number of punters was within 3000, which is closer than we’ve ever gotten before,” Lynch told Broadsheet.

Beer, Footy and Food festival is on Saturday July 28 at Henson Park, Marrickville. Tickets are available here.

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