During porcine prohibition, pigs were trafficked only in the dead of night, while rib slabs had to be served in inconspicuous cereal bowls. Celebrate once-forbidden potables and porkables with today’s Groupon: for $40, you get one VIP admission to the Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival's "Whole Hog Friday Night Pig Pickin'" on Friday, April 1, at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Kids 12 and under are admitted free.
One ticket to this smorgaspork allows a guest unlimited samples of more than 60 beers and 40 bourbons (while supplies last), a souvenir tasting glass, and access to numerous pig-culled foods and cooking demonstrations by four pit masters amid a soundtrack of live rock, blues, and bluegrass tunes. A barbecue dinner of tender pulled pork with all the fixings serves as a stomach buffer for the massive drink menu, which includes smooth and full-bodied bourbons such as the popular Knob Creek and Maker's Mark, as well as a variety of single-barrel batches and rarer brands. For the malt and hops lover, the fest also boasts an array of satisfyingly sophisticated beers, such as Brewery Ommegang Witte, Lancaster Milk Stout, and Magic Hat Circus Boy wheat ale. These are all tentative selections, so check back a few weeks before the show for a finalized beer and bourbon listing.
Competitive eaters and recreational bean-inhalers can test their mettle in the barbeque-bean-eating contest. A free shuttle from the light-rail station saves contest losers the trouble of having to piggyback victorious masticators home. Between bouts of barbecue and beer, partygoers can wander through hot-sauce exhibits, barbecue accessories, and a cigar tent. Though the Saturday festival prices are lower, this Groupon still represents the best deal for Friday attendees.
- We first happened upon a rib so wonderful that I have since dreamed about it twice, then the most amazing baked beans that have ever graced my lips....I was blown away. – samantha s., Yelp, 2/10/11
- Gotta give big props to the volunteers that worked this event. All gave a great pour, were friendly, and worked quickly. – Phil H., Yelp, 1/31/11
Tysons Fall Harvest
It may be the inaugural year of Tysons Fall Harvest, but it already has the docket to rival any well-established fall festival. This family-friendly event will keep kids entertained with plenty of activities, from pony rides and petting zoos to a hay maze and pumpkin carving. Those who need to brush up on their carving skills can sit in on demonstrations from master pumpkin carvers or head to the craft corner to paint or just hug a gourd that escaped.
Even without kids in tow, adults will have plenty to do, including visiting the wine and beer garden for unlimited samples when they purchase a tasting glass, as well as shopping a marketplace with pumpkins and fall decor. They might even consider dropping by Rocknoceros's set at the live-music stage; they might be a kids' band, but their acclaim has landed them gigs at Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, and the Kennedy Center. A portion of the Harvest's proceeds will benefit the Spirit of Hope Children's Foundation.