This year's Hampdenfest, held on Saturday September 14, caught a break and had uncharacteristically gorgeous weather.

A record number of people turned out to eat food, drink the Brewer's Art/Union Craft Brewing collaboration beer Hampden Rye, watch local bands like Celebration and Roomrunner play, witness the Hampden Idol competition, take in the toilet races, and more.


Local karaoke legend Bobby Ray won the 2013 Hampden Idol karaoke contest, bringing the crowd to its feet not only with his classic crooning style, but his rollicking harmonica accompaniment.

In the Great Baltimore Mac-Off macaroni and cheese competition, Cafe Hon's new chef, Eric Schneider won the People's Choice Award, and Trinity Fisher from Alchemy won the Critics' Choice Award.

Alchemy had a pretty big day, because one of their waiters, Kyle Burton, also won the Waiter Races.

And finally, in the Toilet Races, third place was Gasman, second place was Flush Gordon and Gorilla Finger Racing took first place.

Based on what I saw and the feedback I received, it seemed as though the biggest winners were the attendees themselves.

Now that Hampdenfest 2013 has come and gone, here are some events to look forward to:

On Friday, Oct. 4, the poetry series Writers Under The Influence takes place at Atomic Books' new bar, 3620 Falls Road, at 7 p.m. Host Elizabeth Hazen welcomes John Hennessy, Joshua Weiner, Tadeusz Dabrowski and Mary Jo Salter, all of whom will read their work and discuss their influences.

And at the same time at the Golden West Cafe, 1105 W. 36th St., you can check out Globs and Monsters, the new exhibit of monster paintings by Kevin Herdeman. The opening reception is from 7-9 p.m., and the show will run through Oct. 31.

Earlier on Friday, from 4:30-7 p.m., The Wine Source, 3601 Elm Ave., will host a beer tasting of Schlafly Beer of St. Louis.

On Saturday, Oct. 5, The Wine Source has two tastings scheduled, both from 1-4 p.m. You can try cider by Distillery Lane Ciderworks Of Maryland. And you can also try the wines of Cantina Scacciadiavoli of Italy.

On Saturday night, Kill Yr 90s Night hits the Golden West at 10 p.m. Local bands Balkan Falcon, LandSpeedRecord, Rosemary Stretch, Sal Bando, Secret Crush Society, Soft Peak and X'Tinct will be covering songs from the 1990s. Admission is a $10 donation, with proceeds going to benefit The Hampden Family Center.