Culinary Calendar for Memorial Day Weekend

Here’s four unique culinary events that offer opportunities to taste the best beer, wine & food the area has to offer. There’s also a great list of local brat makers if you want to put some local meat on your grill this weekend!

Wine, Women & Fellowship Benefit ~ Thursday, May 22nd

The weekend kicks off with the Wine, Women & Fellowship Habitat for Humanity Fundraiser at The Box from 5-7 PM on Thursday (May 22). This ladies-only event is hosted by Central United Methodist Church, and all proceeds will benefit the Habitat for Humanity/Homestretch build now in progress at the Depot Property. $100 minimum donation.

Dining in the Vines ~ Friday, May 23rd

Dining-in-the-Vines-at-Bowers-Harbor-VineyardsDining in the Vines at Bowers Harbor Vineyards has earned a reputation as one of the most unique dining experiences in the region. It’s an evening of great food, great wine and fun wine that gives you a chance to enjoy the wines and the sights and sounds of Bowers Harbor’s vineyard as you watch a five-course gourmet meal being prepared beside you at an outdoor kitchen by a chef from the Boathouse Restaurant. The evening includes a champagne reception and a tour of the vineyard that includes a short course in “Viticulture 101” by Spencer Stegenga.

View the menu here including smoked trout pate (w/ 2896 Brut Rose), strawberry Brie salad (w/ RLS Reserve Chardonnay) and Kobe filet & lobster tail (w/ 2896 Langley Red). Seating is limited to 50, so please make sure you make your reservations early by calling The Boathouse at 231-223-4030.

Lakeside Shakespeare Theatre’s Feast of Illyria ~ Saturday, May 24th

Feast of IllyriaThe Feast of Illyria takes place on Saturday at 6:30 PM at the Oliver Art Center in Frankfort, filling this beautiful facility with a strolling party of food, drink & entertainment. The evening features wine from St. Ambrose Cellars and beer from Stormcloud Brewing Company along with an incredible spread of food prepared by Jim Barnes of Crystal Lake Catering and Suz McLaughlin of Still Grinning Kitchens.

The event will feature performances by Blake Elliott, Bogar Guzman & Elizabeth Shrake, LST’s own Wild Thyme, and the Bard’s own words by LST’s professional acting ensemble including two public wooings. Proceeds from tickets and silent auction support summer performances of the Twelfth Night and Richard III and their year-round educational workshops. LST founder and artistic director  Elizabeth Laidlaw  says “We were thrilled and delighted with the turnout and enthusiasm for last year’s “Evening In Verona.” People from all over Benzie County, Manistee and Traverse City showed up last year. It was a terrific opportunity to talk about our upcoming season, hear input and ideas from our longtime fans and share our dreams for growth.”

Tickets are $30 for adults, and $10 for children under 18 and can be purchased at or at the door. Click that link for all the details too

Beer & Brat Festival at Crystal Mountain ~ Saturday, May 24th

Beer and Brat Festival at Crystal MountainThe 9th annual Beer & Brat Fest is Memorial Day Weekend tradition at Crystal Mountain, featuring live entertainment slopeside as you sample Michigan’s finest microbrews, local hard cider and mead and gourmet brats from northwest Michigan markets.

Because many of you will be celebrating Memorial Day in traditional backyard style, we thought it would be great to include the list of brat producers who will be on hand at the festival in case you’re looking to make your BBQ more local!

  • Honor Family Market in Honor – why yes, there IS a Philly Cheese brat!
  • Pleva’s Meats of Cedar – featuring Cherry-Pecan
  • Buntings Market in Cedar – Beer Cheese brats
  • Maxbauer Specialty Meat Market in Traverse City – w/ Asparagus & white cheddar brats!
  • Ebels General Store of Falmouth – Hawaiian brats
  • Gabes Country Market in Maple City – Smoked hot or sweet Italian
  • Kelly’s Venison of Big Rapids – Venison Jalapeno Deluxe!
  • Kaleva Meats in Kaleva – Coney or Blueberry
  • Walt’s Smokehouse in Honor – Mango Habernero
  • Sanders’ Meats of Custer – Bacon & Cheddar

Ten of the 38 breweries, meaderies & cideries at this year’s festival are offering special craft beers in limited quantity, released every 30 minutes during the event. The breweries and beers:

  • Brewery Vivant – Undertaker, Belgian Ale
  • New Holland Brewing – Black Tulip, Belgian Tripel
  • Founders Brewing Co. – Kentucky Breakfast Stout, Double/Imperial Stout
  • Mt. Pleasant Brewing Co. – Peach Gruit, Herbal Ale
  • Bell’s – Bull In a China Shop, American Barleywine
  • Short’s Brewing Company – Bourbon Aphasia, Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Ale
  • Perrin Brewing Company – Black Goat, Double Black Lager
  • Beggars Brewery – Private Eyes, Dark Brown
  • Brewery Terra Firma – Little Italy, Honey Basil Ale
  • Saugatuck Brewing Company – Starburst Wheat, Wheat Ale

Other local breweries & meaderies include Jolly Pumpkin, The Filling Station, Right Brain, North Peak, The Workshop, Stormcloud, Ferment, Black Star Farms, Northern Natural Cider House and St Ambrose Cellars! Cost is $25 and you can get all the details are right here.