Dining With Denise Neil

Burger eaters’ delight: Beef and beer star in two weekend fundraisers

Burgers will be the star attraction at two weekend fundraisers in the Wichita area.
Burgers will be the star attraction at two weekend fundraisers in the Wichita area. Getty Images

It’s a good weekend to be a burger eater in Wichita.

Not only is a beefed-up, classed-up version of the ICT Burger Battle back on Saturday in downtown Wichita, but a first-time burger-eating fundraiser – the Burgers and Brew Bash – also is happening on Saturday in El Dorado.

Both feature burgers, beer and live music.

Here’s what you need to know about each event.

ICT Burger Battle

Saturday will mark the fourth annual installment of this burger-centric fundraiser for KETCH, and its organizers – in a search for the perfect formula – have tweaked nearly everything about it this year. The goal: to class it up and widen its appeal.

They’ve moved it to a new location for the third time. The event started at Old Cowtown Museum, moving last year to Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. But Saturday’s event will happen in the parking lot in front of the old Spaghetti Works at 619 E. William.

They also changed the time. Last year’s burger battle happened in the late afternoon. This one is an evening event, lasting from 5 to 8 p.m. And they changed the month. August was too hot, so they moved it to October.

Beer samples also have been added. Local brewery Hopping Gnome will be providing samples, and attendees can taste several other local and regional beers, included in the price of their ticket.

And speaking of tickets – the price has gone up from $25 a person last year to $50 a person this year. The cost increase is allowing the organizers to add another new feature, said Ashley Ruckman, KETCH’s special events coordinator: a headliner. Well-known musical act Moreland & Arbuckle will perform.

“They tour internationally,” Ruckman said of the group. “They’re actually taking a break from a tour with George Thorogood to come here.”

In addition to the beer samples, attendees can try burgers prepared by nine local restaurants. Contributing burger samples are first-time participants Dempsey’s Burger Pub, Blarney Stone Irish Pub and Beautiful Day Cafe as well as regulars Fizz Burgers & Bottles, Heroes, Five Guys, Intrust Bank Arena, Emerson Biggin’s Old Town and The Hyatt.

Two nonrestaurant competitors also will be in the running. Officer Chris Robinson of the Wichita Police Department lobbied organizers to let him compete, along with colleagues from the police department. The Wichita Fire Department also will have a team, and each will be focused on defeating the other, Ruckman said.

The event also will have a car show, and several businesses will be providing desserts.

It’s still open to children – one child under 12 per adult will be admitted free. But this year’s event is more geared to adults, Ruckman said.

Money raised goes to KETCH, a group that helps people with disabilities live and work in the community.

Tickets are $50 or $75 for a VIP ticket that offers early entry and additional perks. People also can choose to attend the concert only for $20. Tickets are available at the door or in advance at ictburgerbattle.com.

(FILE VIDEO -- JULY 6, 2016) Friends Tom Kluge and Kent Kruske have been visiting local burger joints together for 15 years. They have a spreadsheet with remarks about their dining experiences.

Burgers and Brew Bash

Meanwhile, El Dorado also will be slinging burgers and slurping beer.

Flinthill Services, an organization that provide services for adults with developmental disabilities in Butler County, is making burgers the focus of its new fundraiser, scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday at 505 S. Walnut Valley Drive in El Dorado.

Attendees will dine on burgers prepared theatrically by Chris Cakes, the famous pancake flipper who also does burgers. Sides also will be served.

People also can sample beers from El Dorado’s Walnut River Brewing Co.

A live band will perform, and attendees can bid on silent-auction items.

The organization previously did a breakfast fundraiser but decided to try an evening event starring a food everyone loves.

Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door. To get them, visit flinthillsservices.org.

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