Entertainment to accompany food tastings
Friday, July 27
3 p.m. Tomas Esparaza Blues Experience
4 p.m. GR Acoustic Song Writers
5 p.m. Thirsty Perch Blues Band
6 p.m. Karisa Wilson
7 p.m. Lee Weemhoff
8 p.m. Mark Sala
9 p.m. Lucas Wilson
Saturday, July 28
11 a.m. The Old Timers
12:15 p.m. Stand Mroz & Band
1:30 p.m. The Old Timers/Stan Mroz & Band Jam Session
2 p.m. On the Beach Band
3 p.m. BBQ Competition Awards
4 p.m. Cold Cash Machine
5 p.m. Daredevil Circus
6 p.m. Viper Road
7 p.m. Shelagh Brown
8 p.m. Tyler Farr
9 p.m. Kristen Kelly
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Last year, 20,000 people showed up at John Ball Park for the Taste of Grand Rapids.
“One highlight of the event is that it’s free,” states Clear Channel Media and Entertainment promotions assistant Samantha Bennett.
The event will include 19 local restaurants. Bennett says the event allows festivalgoers the chance to “get to know more about local restaurants.”
There is also a barbecue competition where individuals have the chance of winning ribbons and prize money. Approximately 32 teams made up of two to four members present their food for between 50 and 60 judges. The judges are all verified through the Kansas City Barbeque Sanction and choose the best dish for each type of meat category which includes ribs, brisket, chicken and pork. There is also judging for side dishes in categories like beans and potatoes.
“The process is all very secretive,” explains Bennett. “The judging is completely blind. Each dish is numbered and placed in to-go boxes.”
The side dish competition will be judged on Friday, while the meat categories will be awarded on Saturday at 3 p.m.
“We always hope for a bigger year than the last,” says Bennett. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment is in charge of the Taste of Grand Rapids and are the people behind everything from tent and golf cart rentals, to setting up generators and dealing with the logistics for the event.
This year's restaurants include:
- Chez Olga
- Freds Italian Restaurant
- Grand Traverse Pie Co.
- Grillmaster's BBQ
- Happy's Pizza & BBQ
- Moo-ville Creamery
- Red Robin
- Schondelmayer Bar-B-Q
- The Venue
- XO Asian Cuisine
- Jamaican Daves
- Koeze Company
- Mad Dogz
- Melting Pot
- Flow's Pizzeria Ristorante & Sports Bar
Along with local food offerings, events for children and entertainment are a part of Taste of Grand Rapids (see sidebar for full list).