by Nicholas Esposito | What started as a birthday bash has blown up into ‘Bay Fest,” one of the most anticipated days of the year at Great South Bay Brewery in Bay Shore.

The brewery’s owner and founder, Rick Sobotka, said that first party five years ago was for his birthday and about 50 people were invited.

“It was my birthday party and I kind of called it Bay Fest for the heck of it,” he said.

Then others joined in on the fun. On Saturday, there were 15 Long Island breweries on hand and another 15 from elsewhere in New York State.

“We invite all of our friend breweries to come out,” said Sobotka. “It’s my favorite time of the year.”

Around 1,200 fans also got the chance to explore the brewery.

And, they got to eat some food and smoke cigars.

Scroll down for 20 photos.