Beer, bands and bacon in Hendricks

Firefighters volunteer to cook at fifth annual festival that draws 400

Photo by Maureen Ndubuisi Take 16’s bartender and guest under the Take 16 booth discussing, which beer to taste.

HENDRICKS — Beth Mielke traveled all the way from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to Hendricks Sunday to enjoy the fifth Annual Beer, Bands, and Bacon Festival.

“Who doesn’t love beer and bacon, and sitting outside listening to the bands?” Mielke asked while sitting on a picnic table with her family.

“The first time we came was four years ago and we had a blast,” she said.

The Hendricks fire department, 10 breweries and one distillery served more than 400 people at Veterans Memorial park. Different from past years, the Hendrick’s fire department volunteered to serve the food.

“We’ve had food vendors and then they would serve the food, but it got challenging to find people to cook for 350 to 400 people. So, this year with the fire department has volunteered to cook the food for us,” said Orv Johnson, a member of the Hendricks Buddies Fundraising Committee.

“We were just approached and we just took it on, and we enjoy doing it. It’s PR work and it’s good to get in front of the public and show them as a volunteer fire department sometimes you’re slow, you don’t see the trucks in action. We do a lot of training, but this is also one other thing. We enjoy helping out the community and have a great time doing it,” said Cory Hanson with the fire department.

Hendricks Buddies Fundraising Committee started the festival five years ago to fundraise for the campgrounds in Hendricks.

“We just decided we had enough resources in our group of guys that we could put on an event to raise money for various things. We’ve donated some for like the clock on main street and various things. All the money we make is given for community projects basically,” Johnson said.

“Anytime we have an opportunity to display, introduce people to craft beer, we think of it as a win. You’ll see you don’t have anybody selling Coors light, the majority is craft brewers from Southwest Minnesota, and it’s a great thing,” said Steve Meister with Brau Brothers.

“It’s a lot of fun to get out and meet people and talk to them face-to-face, see their reactions to the product you make and just better then always being at the brewery making beer. And it helps support local communities,” said Luke Rensink, the brewer at Take 16.

“We had a really great relationship with Bank brewing company for many years. When this festival started, it was a natural fit for us because of how much Bank had helped us out. We thought it’d be great to come out and hang out. It’s a really nice small town benefit that makes Hendricks better,” said Jason Currie-Olson with the Wood Grain Brewery.