STRATFORD - The third annual Shakes-Beer Festival kicked off in Stratford Saturday, giving locals a taste of the region's best craft beer.

More than 1,000 people flooded the American Shakespeare Theater on Elm Street to enjoy a variety of the rarest beers from breweries across the region.

However, organizers say beer was not the only thing on the agenda. They are also hoping to raise money to restore the American Shakespeare Theater back to its original state.

They say they want to revive old plays to entertain people in the community.

Organizers say they are hoping the proceeds from the event will pay to renovate the theater, making it a part of the local culture once more. They say they are hoping to raise $50,000 for the restoration effort.

Dave Reed, a Shakespeare performer, says he's also planning to raise money to restore the theater.

The site has been vacant since 1986.