Festival will feature brews, BBQ

Next weekend will be full of craft beers, barbecue and family fun with the inaugural Craft Brew and BBQ Festival in Marietta.

The festival, which will be held June 12 to 14, will be at the Washington County Fairgrounds. Kevin Black, owner of Blacksmith Barbecue, is a creator of the event, which features a lot of family fun.

Black said he has been wanting an event that showcases all that Marietta and surrounding areas have to offer.

“I had been a participant in Brick Street BBQ,” he said. “There always seemed to be a disconnect between the people coming to the event and those participating.”

Black said he wants to educate people on local produce while holding a community event.

“You know where (the food is) coming from, you know where the source is,” he said. “I wanted something that celebrates Marietta and the bounty all around it.”

Festival goers can sample the bounty of locally grown produce and heritage breed hogs at the 20 Mile Meal on June 12.

“We’ve provided (six) chefs each with equal amounts of everything,” Black said. “They have to create everything they can…The hogs are actually coming in whole, with the head on and skin on…Each chef has to break this down. It’s a big farm to table kind of event.”

Participating chefs include: Chef Yancy Roush of Yancy’s Five Star, Chef Rick Argosso of The Blennerhassett Hotel, Chef Jamie Heydinger of Thrive Cafe and Catering, Chef Andrew Vonville of the Marietta Moose Lodge, Chef Chad Winebrenner of Grande Pointe Conference and Chef Gene Evans of the WVU-P Culinary Program.

Black said chefs will get the food Monday and have until Thursday when the food will be served up at 6 p.m. to come up with something great.

Tickets for the 20 Mile Meal are cut off at 700 and are $20. They can be purchased online at the festival’s website or in The Cook’s Shop on Front Street.

Another part of the festival is Buckeye Bob’s Chris Custer Fund Dice Run.

“Buckeye Bob” Kyer said the Dice Run is like a poker run, except dice are rolled.

“We’re starting at the Boathouse BBQ on the west side and (attendees) can register there. We’ll have raffles, 50-50 and a silent auction,” he said. “(Event goers) will ride down through Glouster…and from there, they’ll go to McConnelsville, then to Beverly then to Over the Moon in Marietta and then from there they’ll end up at the fairgrounds…Each person rolls three dice, and they do that at every stop.”

Kyer said the idea for the motorcycle run came to be after his wife’s son died from childhood cancer in 1997.

“I just started Buckeye Bob’s Chris Custer Fund a few months ago,” he said. “Chris Custer was my wife’s son. He passed away at age 15 in 1997 with cancer. For the last few years, I’ve wanted to do something, but didn’t know what. It’s my wife’s story, I just have the platform to get it out.”

The fund will be to help children and their families who are battling cancer.

“The No. 1 objective is to help kids in Washington County that have to go to the children’s hospital or the OSU Medical Center,” he said. “Maybe the family needs a hotel room or gas money. We’ll also send money to children’s hospital in Columbus for cancer research.”

Though the run is intended for motorcycles, Kyer said having one isn’t a necessity.

“You don’t have to have a bike; I don’t care if you come on a horse,” he said. “I had one lady say she wanted to bring her Volkswagen Bus.”

The cost to participate in the Dice Run is $10 for single riders, $15 for a couple and those coming in a car will pay $10. The first bike out will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, while the last bike in will be at 5 p.m.

Kyer said T-shirts and bracelets are also for sale, which feature the slogan, “Cure Cancer 1 Child at a Time.” Shirts are $15 and bracelets are $5. He said if someone can’t go on the run but still wants to make a donation, all they have to do is get into contact with him or the Marietta Community Foundation, where the fund is set up.

“The Buckeye Man is coming in,” he said. “He’ll be around all afternoon and evening taking pictures with the kids.”

Black said all events are free, except for the 20 Mile Meal; all festival goers have to pay is $5 to park.

“Whatever you drive in, whether it’s a garden tractor or a bus, it’s $5,” he said. “We want to keep it open for everybody.”

Black said that in addition to inflatables, face painting and music, which will feature local musicians all weekend, June 14 will also host a car cruise-in.

The main thing about the event is keeping things local, said Black.

“Everything we’ve done we’ve tried to source locally, even the music,” he said. “It’s 99.9 percent local, which has been a fun challenge.”

Black said this year will tell the direction the festival goes in the future.

“We want to get it started this year and grow it next year,” he said. “As we see how well this year is, who knows where we’ll go? Maybe lawnmower racing…(This festival) is a chance to take what the best of the farms can do, the best of what the chefs can do, and make a great event of it.”