October 2012


Author: David Tobias

Joe Cain doesn’t have anything against Cajun cooking. It’s just that he discovered last year that a Cajun festival might not be right for Hilton Head Island. Burgers and beer, however—now that’s a different story.

So, when last year’s Cajun Fest fell a little flat, and the only Cajun restaurant on the island couldn’t even make it because a big Georgia Bulldog football game was on the same day, Cain, director of special events for the Island Recreation Center, and others on his team, decided it was time for a change.

Voila! Just like that, the Hilton Head Burgers and Brew Festival was born. The event, which will feature 12 area restaurants and at least 20 different beers (including, of course, a selection of Oktoberfest beers), is set for Saturday, October 13 at Shelter Cove Community Park from noon-6 p.m. Admission is $5, with taste-test tickets sold separately for slider portions of the “burgers.”

That’s burgers, in quotes, because they don’t have to be made of beef. They can be shrimp burgers, oyster burgers, fish burgers, chicken burgers, steak burgers—you name it. But it’s likely most will be on a bun, and they’ll be judged not only by celebrity judges, but also by the assembled burger-lovin’ hordes, which Cain expects may number close to 1,000.

The event will also be a music showcase of sorts. Popular local band Cranford & Sons will be featured, along with sit-ins of their choice. Karaoke will take place on a large stage in full view of the crowd, once mid-afternoon and then again to wrap up the event.

Other entertainment includes a Kids Zone and a large screen television (for those who just can’t miss a college football game). In addition, Adventure Radio will broadcast from the park.

Participating restaurants include One Hot Mama’s, Reilley’s, Frankie Bones, Cheap Seats, the Brew Pub, Hudson’s, Charbar, The Marriott, The Westin, Wild Wing Café, Cocos on the Beach and Sea Pines Burgers & Brew.

According to Cain, the park setup will be quite different from other events coordinated by Island Rec, such as Wing Fest and the Seafood Fest, in that an actual “bier garden” atmosphere will be created toward the back of the park, including greenery provided by Ocean Woods Landscaping.

The event is sponsored by Island Rec with TD Bank and USCB co-sponsoring. Proceeds will benefit the Island Rec Scholarship Fund and the USCB Hospitality Program.

For more information, visit islandreccenter.org, call (843) 681-7273 or e-mail info@islandrec.org.

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