July 31 in Everts Park – featuring food, live music and Bloody Marys
Benefitting Northern Suburban Special Recreation Association
Highwood’s popular Bloody Mary Fest is coming back with a bang! In its seventh year, the fest will take place on Sunday, July 31st from 10am-5pm in Everts Park (130 Highwood Ave). Vendors from near and far will shake up their special recipes to compete for the title of “Best Bloody Mary in the Midwest.” The day will benefit the Northern Suburban Special Recreation Association ( NSSRA), a not for profit organization that aims to provide and facilitate year-round recreation programs and services for children, teens and adults with disabilities.
The battle for the Best Bloody Mary will begin at 2 pm, as the judges taste each contestant’s take on the classic drink. The winners of both the Judge’s and People’s Choice will be announced at 4:30 pm.
Mixologists from competing bars and restaurants will have the chance to share their unique recipes with the public while attempting to create the ultimate Bloody Mary. The competition includes a ‘People’s Choice Award,’ as well as formal judging on the ‘Best Bloody Mary’ and ‘Best Garnish’ by some of Chicago’s leading media personalities, including: Lee A. Litas, “Lee’s Social Studies” columnist for Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press, Marjie Killeen, “Sex & the Suburbs” columnist for Make It Better Magazine, Patti Vasquez, WGN Radio Host and nationally touring comedian, and Eric Falberg, Highwood Alderman and founder of Bloody Mary Fest. Contestants will be evaluated on the categories of taste, presentation, spice, color, texture and garnish.
The battle for the Best Bloody Mary will begin at 2 pm, as the judges taste each contestant’s take on the classic drink. The winners of both the Judge’s and People’s Choice will be announced at 4:30 pm. Bloody Mary Fest is sponsored by Miss Mary’s Morning Elixir and Tito’s Handmade Vodka, who will provide each competitor with a bottle of Tito’s Vodka to concoct their creation. The winners of Bloody Mary Fest will be rewarded with a trophy, recognition throughout the local media, and bragging rights for the whole year.
Reigning 2015 Best Bloody Mary and Garnish Champion, Miss Mary’s Morning Elixir , will be back to compete against more than a dozen different bars and restaurants including: Alex’s Washington Gardens, Barrel Crossing Tap and Grill, Disotto, Finest Call, The Humble Pub, Jimmy Luv’s Bloody Mary Mix, La Casa de Isaac, Pavilion, Perry Leon Bloody Mary, Pinstripes, The Ram Restaurant & Brewery, Santi’s Gardens, Stu’s Kitchen, SuckerPunch Gourmet, The Wooden Nickel, and 2015 People’s Choice winner Toadstool Pub.
Bloody Mary Fest attendees will enjoy plenty of food and drinks, a beer truck, and live entertainment by Project 2 Music, specializing in Rock Broadway music from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and Zydeco Voodoo, Chicago’s Mardi Gras party band, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
“Highwood’s Bloody Mary Fest allows people to showcase their creative side when it comes to the amazing flavors and elaborate garnishes they come up with for their Bloody Marys and it brings the entire community together for a great cause, said Julie Brugioni, president of the Highwood Chamber of Commerce.
The event will raise awareness for NSSRA, whose mission is to enrich the lives of people with disabilities in our partner communities through quality recreation services.
“NSSRA is thrilled to be chosen as the beneficiary of this wonderful community event,” said Craig Culp, executive director. “Our participants will benefit from the great efforts of the Highwood Chamber of Commerce to support recreational activities.”
NSSRA will be at Bloody Mary Fest with volunteers on site informing festival-goers about the program. There will also be a suggested $2 donation at the gate to benefit NSSRA.
Thousands of people come from all over the Chicago-land area and as far as Wisconsin and Indiana to participate in the fest as competitors or attendees. Highwood is a stop on the Union Pacific North Metra line and is only a short walk to the Fest grounds at Evert’s Park. For those that may not be Bloody Mary fans, the Fest will offer plenty of activities for attendees of all ages, from bouncy houses and an obstacle course to exploring the artisan goods from market vendors, enjoying live entertainment, and fabulous food and drinks.
About the North Suburban Special Recreation Association
The North Suburban Special Recreation Association’s mission is to enrich the lives of people with disabilities in our partner communities through quality recreation services. The organization provides and facilitates year-round recreation programs and services for children, teens and adults with disabilities who live in the partner communities. NSSRA is an extension of ten park districts, two cities and one village in the northern suburbs of Chicago.