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The 4th Annual Empire Hops & Harvest Festival, October 7th

The 4th Annual Empire Hops & Harvest Festival in downtown Empire will take place this weekend, October 7th from Noon – 10pm! The festival takes place after an annual harvest of hops, allowing breweries to bring Wet Hopped Beer to the festival, and use greens from the vine which gives the beer a distinctive flavor that you can only enjoy this time of year!

_DSC0763Fill up your pint glass with fresh hopped beer from Right Brain Brewery, Stormcloud Brewery, Lake Ann Brewery, Workshop Brewing Company, The Filling Station Brewery, North Peak Brewing, Nomad Cider, Acoustic Mead, St. Ambrose Mead, and Black Star Farms. Kids and designated drivers can now enjoy Northwood’s Soda Bar, a new addition this year!

Empire Chamber of Commerce Director, Paul Skinner, says “We’ve added ‘Harvest’ to the title because the food component has always been strong and this year is no exception, be prepared for a wide variety of dishes featuring local produce.” Similar to the years prior, this year’s festival will be a Certified Local Food Event. “We participate in the festival to offer delicious food to the masses locally, it’s a pleasure working with the people involved who make them a success, and we hope to continue at these events and source our ingredients locally,” says Jan Latorre, owner of Rocco’s Old World Pizzeria.

Local food returning this year: Art’s Tavern, Mama Lu’s, Pleva’s Meats, Rocco’s Pizzeria and Scalawag’s. Three new vendors joining this year: Nepalese Have Another, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, and the Shipwreck Café.  

Sneak peaks:

Mama Lu’s will be featuring a “Panza Taco with crispy pork belly, salsa negra, pickled jicama, apple, and pork rinds,” an all-time favorite back at the restaurant in downtown Traverse City. “We thought it would be fun to offer it at the Festival because pork belly and beer are practically best friends.” says Adrienne Brunette, owner of Mama Lu’s. “We are participating again this year because we had a blast last year with many of our dear friends in Empire, several guests have asked us to have the Street Corn, and we are bananas about Hops Fest,” said Brunette.

Rocco’s Old World Pizzeria will be offering a variety of wood-fired pizzas and salads, including their local specialty, “Chumly,” which features local apples, onions, tomatoes, prosciutto, mozzarella, provolone, and is topped with fresh arugula and a balsamic glaze!

Copy of Copy of Empire-HopsFest-Profile-02Enjoy live music from Jackpine (Noon–2 pm), 5th Gear (2:30–4:40 pm), Brotha James (5–7 pm) and The Benzie Playboys (8–10 pm)!

The $15 entry fee includes a beer glass and a drink ticket, designated drivers can purchase tickets for $10 and will receive a pint glass, all kids under 16 are free. Tickets are available at the door or online at:

Join the all day celebration of Hops & Harvest Festival and don’t miss out on the local food, live music, and of course beer brewed with local hops!

Bailey Samp is the local food coordinator for NW Michigan and the Certified Local Food Events manager. Contact her at [email protected]

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