by LAURA HAYES
On September 2 and 3, Levee Park will be filled with the savory smells of barbeque. The Winona Main Street Program is currently gearing up for the second “Big Muddy Brew ’N Que” — a two-day event filled with barbeque competitions and beer and wine tastings.
“The first year was an overwhelming success,” Main Street Coordinator Emily Kurash said. Last year, Main Street staff projected around 1,000 attendees, but around 5,000 people ended up actually attending. “People are clearly excited about an event downtown in Levee Park on Labor Day weekend,” Kurash said. Despite the ongoing construction in Levee Park, Kurash said the event will still go on and occupy the east end of the park.
“What I’m most looking forward to is seeing people come together and enjoy downtown,” Kurash said. And, the food, she added.
Additionally Main Street staff members extended the event to two days and added additional competitions. Big Muddy Brew ’N Que will host a number of regional craft brews and wines for attendees to sample. The wine tasting will take place on September 2 ,from 6 to 7:30 p.m., and the beer tasting will take place on September 3, from 5 to 7 p.m. The event will feature a professional barbeque competition by the Kansas City Barbeque Society, bringing in barbeque teams from all over the Midwest. Ten local restaurants will compete in the “Best-In-Area BBQ Competition” including Beedle’s Bar and Restaurant in Centerville, Ground Round, Hy-Vee, Jefferson’s Pub and Grill, Signatures, Blooming Grounds, Black Horse Bar and Grill, Bluff Country Co-op, Brewski’s Pub and Grill, and the Kensington Cafe. However, instead of only cooking pulled pork, Kurash said the local teams will also create another barbeque dish unique to their menus.
Tickets are still available for the “Best-In-Area” competition, Kurash said. Attendees who purchase tickets get to taste all of the dishes and vote on their favorite barbeque.
Big Muddy will be filled with other fun events including live music, a cornhole tournament, local artists and vendors selling their wares, beer and wine tasting, and kid-friendly activities. “We’re really hoping for a similar attendance like last year,” Kurash said.
All of the proceeds from the event will help keep Main Street programs free, Kurash added. Other events taking place downtown, such as the recent Craft Beer Tour and Steamboat Days, have been successful, she continued. “It shows that people are excited to be out and about and active in downtown Winona,” Kurash said.
The event will take place on September 2 from 5 to 9 p.m. and September 3 from noon to 9 p.m. Big Muddy Brew ’N Que is free to attend, but tickets for the “Best-In-Area BBQ Competition” are limited and cost $10 per person. Tickets to the Microbrew Beer Tasting Event and Wine Tasting Event cost $20 per person. Tickets for these activities are available at Hy-Vee, Midtown Foods, Leighton Broadcasting, and the Winona Chamber of Commerce. Tickets for the cornhole tournament cost $20 per team and can be purchased the day of the competition on Sunday, September 3, at 12:30 p.m. The competition starts at 1 p.m. For more information, visit https://www.bigmuddybrewnque.com/.