On Saturday, Sept. 18, more than 800 people braved the weather to sip and sample the rain away. The harbor’s latest foodie focused event brought American classics, Burgers, Bourbon and Beer, together for an afternoon of fiery fun. The event featured local restaurants, caterers and chefs, as well as brewers and distilleries from Pensacola to Panama City. The event withstood the drizzling rain and raised funds for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast
Although the afternoon wasn’t the sunshine everyone had hoped for, the early drizzle didn’t detour the die-hard fans. They were rewarded with creations like mac & cheese or poached egg topped burgers, to Taki dusted buns. There was no topping off limits and every flavor was tested, from sweet bacon jams to spicy fried jalapenos. The crowd cooled off their taste buds with unique brews like Destin Brewery’s Bee-liner and a blueberry pomegranate sour to Idyll Hounds Ghost Crab pilsner, as well as handcrafted bourbon cocktails by Four Roses, Brother’s Bond Bourbon and Old St Pete distillery. VIP guests dodged the rain in the VIP lounge, where they enjoyed exclusive small batch tastings provided by Buffalo Trace. While local bands, The Shenanigans and Flash Flood took the stage to keep the tunes flowing.
The top winners of the day were Market 21, taking home the coveted 1st place People’s Choice award as well as Judges 2nd place. The A&A Spice is Life food truck, out of Fort Walton Beach, was the other big winner, taking home both Judges 1st place and Most Creative for their sweet pepper jam, maple pepper bacon bits, parmesan and jack cheese fondue, Taki crumbs, spiced pickle and paneer tikka skewer topped burger. Other winners included Knife’s Edge Private Chef & Catering who took People’s choice 2nd place and East Pass Seafood & Oyster Bar was 3rd place. Despite the rainy start to the day the sun came out to shine on everyone’s efforts and highlighted the unwavering support of our little beach community.
The event raised $10,000 for the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast. An organization that serves over 1200 children across 8 clubs in the tri-county area. They are devoted to “enhancing the development of boys and girls by instilling a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging and influence through its programs focused on academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles."
We are extremely thankful to all that attended, all our restaurant participants and sponsors, including White Claw Hard Seltzer, Buffalo Rock Pepsi, Imperial Dade, Cheney Brother’s Inc and Ben E Keith, for making this all possible. We were humbled by the response of the community for their support of our desire to entertain through food, while giving back to our community partners. We are looking forward to continuing the festival into its second year in 2022.