Bourbon? Bacon? Blues? Downtown Sturgis has it all tonight

The Sturgis Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is hosting the fourth annual Bourbon, Bacon, and Blues event tonight on North Street in downtown Sturgis. The festival will include live music, bacon-themed food offerings, axe throwing, and 12 participating distilleries. 

Michigan-based, local distilleries including Mammoth Distilling, Ugly Dog Distillery, Green Door, Coppercraft Distillery, New Holland Brewing Co., Journeyman Distillery, and Iron Fish Distillery will be among the featured bourbon vendors on Friday evening. Sturgis DDA’s Ryan Conrod told Watershed Voice tasting packages will be on sale at the door for $47, and include six pours from the various distilleries. “If people just want to come to the event, they can pay the $5 entry fee and get single pour bourbon shots for $10,” Conrod said. In addition to the bourbon options, there will also be a beer tent ran by the Sturgis Chamber of Commerce with a selection of different alcoholic drinks for purchase. 

Brewhouse BBQ’s bacon-wrapped, brisket-stuffed jalapeño poppers.

Several food trucks and one dessert truck will be on site during the event and serving up their regular menus, as well as special bacon-themed items. Mamazzoni’s Italian Beef Truck will begin serving food at 4:30 p.m., and will be offering a BCLT: a bacon, mozzarella, cheese, lettuce, and tomato sub sandwich for $9. Brewhouse BBQ will have a limited supply of bacon-wrapped, brisket stuffed jalapeño poppers. Mark It With a B Cupcakes by Stacy will be offering special desserts like peach bourbon cupcakes, maple bacon cupcakes, and bourbon pecan fudge brownies. Other food trucks participating in the festival will be Freddy’s Food Hut, Small Town Girl Concessions and Catering, Ibison Concessions, and Papa Joe’s Grub n Go. 

The Out of Favor Boys (OFB) will be performing at 5:30 p.m. on the John St. acoustic stage. Originally conceived in Kalamazoo in 2003, the band has evolved into a blues staple in Southwest Michigan. OFB won the 2017 West Michigan Blues Society Blues Challenge, winning the right to represent the West Michigan Blues Society in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in 2018. The band has also represented the Kalamazoo Valley Blues Association in the International Blues Challenge and has played festivals, clubs and private parties from Detroit to Chicago.

The main act for the evening will be the Alex Mays Band, and the performance will begin on the main stage at 7 p.m. Straight out of Pelham, North Carolina, Alex Mays has been writing music for over 15 years, with styles ranging from rock, blues, southern rock and jazz. Now living in Kalamazoo, Mays plays all over the world with different rhythm sections of choice, and his shows are known for displaying his range of styles.

Alex Mays Band

Along with live music and food trucks, axe throwing will be a new addition to the Bourbon, Bacon, and Blues event and will feature $5 for three to five throws. The Brush and Hook studio will also be offering a wine and paint pouring canvas class for $35 beginning at 6 p.m.

Conrod said this event has always drawn a large crowd in the past, and this year should be no exception. “You have your people that are your bourbon followers, so they will come from out of town for this, and then the general public and the community like to come out because it’s music and food,” he said. “Being Memorial Day weekend, a lot of lake visitors will be coming from Detroit or Chicago and will come to a lot of our events downtown.”

Beca Welty is a staff writer and columnist for Watershed Voice.