Summer is the season of festivals, and Highwood is once again adding Bloody Mary Fest to the mix.
The 8th annual celebration takes place on July 30 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Everts Park in Highwood. At last year’s event, more than 5,000 people gathered to sample Bloody Marys created by vendors from near and far.
Participants compete for the title of “Best Bloody Mary in the Midwest” as well as “Best Garnish,” and are judged by a group of “celebrity experts” and professional and amateur mixologists. The panel includes Lee Litas, columnist for Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press; Sherry Thomas, group editor at JWC Media; Chuck Weisberg, Midwest regional manager for Van Gogh Vodka; Julie Chernoff, dining editor at Make it Better; Andrew Nicks, president at 22nd Century Media; and Eric Falberg, president of Celebrate Highwood and founder of Bloody Mary Fest.
Judges will evaluate taste, presentation, spice, color, texture and garnish. There will also be a People’s Choice Award, so festival visitors will have the opportunity to sample as well as judge.
The battle for the “Best Bloody Mary” will be held at 2 p.m. as the judges taste each contestant’s remix of the classic drink. The winners of both the Judge’s and People’s Choice will be announced at 4:30 p.m.
Competitors will receive a bottle of Van Gogh Vodka to concoct their creations, courtesy of Bloody Mary Fest sponsors Master of Mixes and Van Gogh Vodka. The winners of Bloody Mary Fest will be rewarded with a trophy, media recognition, and, of course, bragging rights until next year’s fest.
“Highwood’s Annual Bloody Mary Fest brings the entire community together and attracts thousands of visitors from all over Chicagoland, including Wisconsin and Indiana,” said Eric Falberg, president of Celebrate Highwood and a Bloody Mary Fest judge. “We love tasting all the amazing flavors and seeing the elaborate garnishes people come up with. It truly is a must see event.”
While the beverages may be the stars of the show, the event also will include live entertainment, a gourmet market, and delicious food selections.