This Saturday, June 16, sees the return of smoke and suds to downtown Westminster, with the third annual BBQ Stroll scheduled to bring out at least eight barbecue vendors, a dozen breweries plus wineries and distilleries, to taste people on their wares.
“It’s definitely a fun time on Main Street,” said Heather Mullendore, assistant director of recreation and parks for the city of Westminster. “It’s basically like a big picnic on Main Street to kick off summer.
There will be live music too, at the library and Locust Lane stages, as well as a DJ.
“We are super excited about our musical line up this year. Starting the day will be the Late Night Record Shop, they will be playing from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.,” Mullendore said. “Then from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., we have the Amish Outlaws.”
The official hours for the event were supposed to be noon to 4 p.m., Mullendore said, but people have already expressed such interest that the event will now open an hour earlier.
There is no true gated entry — anyone can come and stroll Main Street during the event, Mullendore said — but those adults interested in unlimited sampling can pay $18 for a ticket, available online at www.westminstermd.gov/bbqstroll until 5 p.m. Friday, June 15, or for $20 in person at the event as supplies last.
“The ticket price includes the commemorative mug in which people can try all they care to sample adult beverages, and then it also gets them access to $1 barbecue bites at the participating barbecue vendors,” she said. “If people just want to come into the festival, it is free.”
Those barbecue vendors will include locals such as Tim Thai Classic, Gulianova’s Groceria, The Broken Fork and Lone Star, among others.
“We have participated in every single one of them,” Lone Star Owner Bill Schaeffer said of the stroll. “There is always a ton of people, and we sell a lot of barbecue that day up on Main Street. We sell our brisket and our pulled pork up there and both of them do really well. Every year we usually sell out.”
Alcohol vendors include Monocacy Brewing Co., Ruhlman Brewery, Johanssons Dining House, Liganore Wine Cellars, the Lost Ark Distilling Co. and more.
Those vendors will be spread out between John/Bond Streets and Md. 27, and Md. 27 to Longwell Avenue, with Main Street shut down to vehicle traffic in those areas, a testament to how much the event has grown, according to Mullendore.
“Our first stroll started just on the sidewalks of Main Street,” she said. “Last year was our first year actually closing down Main Street for this event and it was also our first year adding beer to the BBQ Stroll.”
The beer, Mullendore said, just seemed like a good choice to pair with barbecue, and feedback after the first year had been very positive.
“We’ve had our wine stroll and we’ve had a lot of success with that, which features a lot of local wineries, and we wanted to feature the local breweries and distilleries in the area,” she said. “But it’s also fun to have adult friendly events, too, because we do a lot of events for the children in the community.”
Children and designated drivers receive free entry to the event, Mullendore said, but those adults of age who don’t wish to purchase a tasting ticket and also choose to buy drinks or barbecue as they go from participating vendors.
“They could purchase a full glass pour from one of our breweries, and then most of our alcohol vendors will also to go items that they could purchase,” she said. “We will have a beer check where people can pick up their items at the end of the event so they don’t have to carry them around all day.”
Mullendore also plans to attend the stroll, and do some sampling of her own.
“You know what, I think all the BBQ is good, but I am more interested in the sauce that they put on,” she said.
If you go
What: BBQ Stroll
When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 16
Where: Main Street in Westminster between Longwell Avenue and Bond/John streets
Cost: Tasting tickets are $18 in advance at www.westminstermd.gov/bbqstroll, or $20 at the gates. Attendance is free.