Dining With Denise Neil

Beer, bacon and bloody Marys focus of spring food events in Wichita

The fourth annual Blooms, Brews and Bloody Marys happens May 12 at Botanica.
The fourth annual Blooms, Brews and Bloody Marys happens May 12 at Botanica. File photo

Bacon and beer and baklava and bloody Marys are on the menu in Wichita during the next several weeks.

Spring and summer are filling up with dining events that always attract big crowds. Here are several that you’ll want to put on your calendar:

Mudbug Madness, April 29-30: This annual Cajun-style crawfish boil at Prairie Pines, 4055 N. Tyler, is in its eighth year and features all you-can-eat crawfish plus a Cajun buffet. It’s from 6 to 10 p.m. April 29 and 30 and will feature a cash bar and music by the Mudbugs Cajun & Zydeco band. Tickets, $39.95 a person, are available at www.prairiepines.com. For more information, call 316-303-2037.

The Truck Stops Here, May 1: Formerly known as the Food & Brew Festival, this event has undergone several changes since its debut last year. It happens from noon to 3 p.m. at the southwest corner of Kellogg and Andover Road and will feature 10 food trucks, eight Kansas breweries and one Kansas winery. The food trucks will sell their menu items. Those with a $20 tasting lanyard can sample all the beer. The event will also have music from Green Flamingos and School of Rock’s Dorothy’s Revenge. It’s put on by Andover Advantage Foundation, and money will benefit Andover public schools. It’s an all-ages event. For more information and tickets, visit www.andoveradvantage.org.

Air Capital Bacon and Beer Festival, May 7: Hartman Arena in Park City is tweaking its Midwest Baconfest into this event, which will feature bacon and craft beer. Attendees will be able to sample bacon-centric dishes from restaurants like Big Larry’s Burgers, Hurts Donut and Two Brothers BBQ and sample beers from Central Standard, Hank is Wiser, Walnut River and more. Patrons can enter a bacon-eating contest, ride a mechanical pig and stock up on bacon merchandise. Tickets are $30, $35 the day of the event. They’re available online at ticketmaster.com, by phone at 1-800-745-3000 or at the Hartman Arena Box Office.

‘Oklahoma’ Sing-along and Pie Auction, May 7: Music Theatre Wichita and Tallgrass Film Association are teaming up for a fundraiser that will co-star pie. They’ll screen a rare version of the 1955 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “Oklahoma” and auction off pies made by or inspired by local and national celebrities, including Elliott Gould. They’ll also sell slices of pie at the event, which will happen at 2 p.m. May 7 at the Crown Uptown, 3207 E. Douglas. Tickets are $10 and are available by calling 316-265-3107, in the Music Theatre office at 225 W. Douglas, or at the door.

Blooms, Brews and Bloody Marys, May 12: This is the fourth year for this event, which features bartenders competing to make the best Bloody Mary. The event, which is at Botanica, 701 N. Amidon, also features beer, live music and food. It starts at 6:30 p.m., and tickets are $50, $40 for members. For tickets, visit www.botanica.org/BloomsBrews2016.

St. Mary Orthodox Christian Church Mediterranean Festival, May 14: The church’s annual Mediterranean food sale is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 14 at 344 S. Martinson. It will feature grape leaves, hummus, cabbage rolls, kafta, kibbe, Serbian chicken paprikash and baklava sundaes that can be enjoyed on-site or purchased for carryout. The church also will have displays of ethnic dancing, church tours and more. Items are sold a la carte. For more information, visit stmarywichita.org/festival.html.

Midwest Beerfest, May 20-21: If it feels like you just went to the Midwest Beerfest, it’s because you did. But this is the year that its organizers are transitioning the event from fall to spring. The reason for the change: Too many other events, from Woofstock to the Great Plains Renaissance Festival to the Wagonmasters Downtown Chili Cookoff, clog the calendar in the fall. The festival will start with several beer dinners on Friday, May 20, and will conclude with the grand tasting from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 21, at Century II’s Expo Hall. Tickets for the grand tasting are $45 at www.midwestbeerfest.com/order-tickets.

Celebrity & Chef Cookoff, June 14: Tickets are on sale now for the Orpheum’s 15th annual Celebrity & Chef Cookoff, which raises money for the historic theater and its restoration. It’s on June 9 at Intrust Bank Arena and will pair local celebrities with chefs for an “Iron Chef”-style cookoff. Those who buy a $90 ticket get to watch the competition and sample food from local restaurants. They also get cocktails and can participate in live and silent auctions. Tickets are available at www.wichitaorpheum.com or by calling 316-263-0884.