Time to put on your stretchy pants.
The sixth annual Med City BBQ and Music Fest kicks off tomorrow at the Olmsted County Fairgrounds. The free event runs for two days, but so much is packed in, you’re gonna want to clear your schedule.
Head over starting at 4 p.m. Friday to get in on the barbecue vendors, beer garden, and the People’s Choice BBQ Wings contest. A limited number of wristbands go on sale at 6:30 p.m. for the wing competition at 7. Just $15 for a wristband gets you access to all 20 teams’ wings, plus a beer or soda. Then, cast your vote, because the contest is over when the wings are gone and a winner is announced.
While you’re setting your mouth on fire (not really), enjoy a barbecue soundtrack with the musical stylings of Parks and Kleist (5 p.m.), Todd Hurst (7 p.m.) and the headliners, Martin Zellar and the Hardaways (9 p.m.)
Come back Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to enjoy the beer garden and barbecue vendors selling to the public, including our own Roscoe’s of Rochester and Triple T BBQ of Kasson, as well as Bubba-Q’s and Pig In Pig Out and others.
Saturday is also when the official Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanctioned competition kicks off. Because of its very sanctioned and endorsed official-ness, the competition isn’t open to the public — but that doesn’t mean you can’t take notes on the winning and high-placing teams with a vow to go on a barbecue-themed road trip before summer is out.
Last year, the Big Chain BBQ Gang of Charles City, Iowa, came out as the “pig on top” out of 40 teams; the year before, Grills Gone Wild, out of Algona, Iowa, won the competition ahead of 48 other teams. (It sounds like that road trip will definitely be taking you to Iowa.)
The event also features a $10-a-ticket raffle with more than $14,000 in prizes including smokers, flat-screen TVs, airline tickets, mountain bikes and more. Better yet, all proceeds from the raffle go to Rochester Police Benevolence Association and the Rochester Police Athletic League.
Quick, try these bites!
If you want something more unique than your standard twist ice cream cone on a hot summer day, Rochester’s Flapdoodles (3525 22nd Ave. NW) always has a creative, quirky new menu item for you to try. This time, it’s Speculoos — a rich combination of cookie butter-flavored ice cream with Belgian butter cookies swirled into the mix.
If you’re more of the “I’ll get what I always get” kind of person, then no worries — as of a few days ago, Cookie Monster, Coffee Chip, Key Lime and Salty Caramel (and so many more!) were still on the flavor board.
And finally – because all of their summer “Dine in the Vines” events sold out quickly and because September is the best Minnesota month and because vineyards should be viewed from high above — you should probably sign up right now for a just-announced event at Four Daughters Vineyard and Winery: “Breakfast and Balloons” will take place on Sunday, Sept. 13, from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. The talented culinary team will treat you to a full gourmet lunch and mimosa and Bloody Mary bar, as well as tethered hot air balloon rides (as long as the weather is behaving).
The event is $95 per person. Sign up on the Four Daughters website today — and don’t forget to register your team of two for one of the most fun fall events in the area, the annual Four Daughters Grape Stomp, happening the day before, on Sept. 12, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.