The 2013 Taste of Grand Rapids Food and Music Festival, Kansas City Barbecue Society-sanctioned Barbecue Competition and West Michigan Trucking Show will all take place this weekend at Fifth Third Ballpark.
These events have all been merged together in order to attract bigger names for the music festival and to bring out more people for the weekend’s festivities.
The food festival just recently merged with the trucking show, moving from John Ball Park to Fifth Third Ballpark. This move allows more space for parking and vendors so that more people can come and more food can be served.
“By combining the two events, it gives us a chance to upgrade the level of talent we bring in for the free concert,” said Tim Feagan, Vice President Market Manager at Clear Channel, the event’s sponsor.
But this move hasn’t come without its share of negative feedback.
Initially, some argued that the ballpark is not in fact in Grand Rapids but rather in Comstock Park, so it should be renamed “The Taste of Comstock Park” or at least feature restaurants from that area.
Others argue that chain restaurants that have franchises in other cities should not be included.
“I think the festival is a great way to experience the diversity in food that Grand Rapids has to offer,” said Calvin student Kendra Burmeister. “I would, however, like more local restaurants to be featured in the line-up.”
Nevertheless, she believes the festival will be a hit. “Events like these are not only great for promoting local businesses, but also provide the community with the chance to enjoy great food and great music together,” she said.
The line-up of restaurants includes:
Louis Benton Steakhouse
Noodles & Company
Café San Juan
The festival will take place Friday from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Non-stop live music will kick off Friday afternoon and includes performances by Aaron Tippin (on Friday evening) and Bennett, the up-and-coming Grand Rapids-based band whose lead singer is former Calvin student Nick Rolls (on Saturday evening).
The line-up is as follows:
Friday, July 19
3 p.m. — Brian Randall Band
4 p.m. — Lyndsey McFarlane
5:30 p.m. — Kari Lynch
7 p.m. — Stolen Horses
8:30 p.m. — Aaron Tippin
Saturday, July 20
11 a.m. — Diddlestyx
12:30 p.m. — Afro Zuma
2 p.m. — Delilah DeWylde and the Lost Boys
3 p.m. — Announcement of BBQ Competition Awards
4:30 p.m. — Blue Molly
6 p.m — Sidetrack
7:30 p.m. — Bennett
8:45 p.m. — Lookin’ Back (Bob Seger Tribute Band)
The West Michigan Trucking Show will feature dozens of semi-trucks in a car show atmosphere.
The BBQ competition contains more than 40 competitors competing for cash prizes. The barbecue will not be available for public tasting, but the competitors will be available to answer questions and give advice.
The event is free to the public with a $6 parking fee and a small fee for food at each of the vendors.