A new block party celebrating Michigan-made cider and Ypsilanti-based food is set for noon to 8 p.m. Nov. 3 near the campus of Eastern Michigan University.
The West Cross Hard Cider Fest will shut down College Place between Emmett and West Cross. The Wurst Bar operating partner and festival organizer Jesse Kranyak says he and his fellow organizers chose to focus on cider for a few different reasons. Ypsilanti has its Summer Beer Festival, but organizers have recently axed cider producers from the lineup, Kranyak says. Additionally, there's no major cider festival anywhere in Michigan in fall months, just as apples become ripe, he says.
Another reason to choose cider and meads is the recent movement to make more gluten-free food and drink available. Plus, almost everyone loves cider, Kranyak says.
"People who don't like beer like cider, and people who do like beer and wine also like cider," he says. "We thought there's always a huge turnout for beer. Why not give cider a chance in the same vicinity as the beer festival but at a different time of year?"
Kranyak says he hopes for a minimum of 300 people to show up, but he thinks he has enough cider on tap for up to 1,000. About 50 varieties of cider and mead, from sweet to sour to dry, will be on tap.
Non-alcoholic drinks for children and non-drinkers will also be available from Sweetwaters and Cross Street Coffee. A band and a DJ will provide music, and children will have a chance to play games and see a fire truck, donated by the Michigan Firehouse Museum.
Participating cider- and mead-makers are all from Michigan, including Starcut Ciders, Farmhaus Cider, Vander Mill Cider, St. Ambrose Cellars, B. Nektar Meadery, Cellarmen's, Northville Cider, Unity Vibration, Uncle John's Cider Mill, Blake's Cider, Virtue Cider, Cherry Creek Cider, St. Julian Winery, and Blom Meadworks.
Food will be on sale from local food businesses, and some may also be giving away free samples. Those businesses include The Wurst Bar, along with Tower Inn, Sweetwaters Cafe, Insomnia Cookies, Cool Like That Cafe, and Veg-O-Rama.
Cider sampling wristbands are $20 and can be reserved online ahead of time here and picked up at The Wurst Bar. If any are left, they can also be purchased from The Wurst Bar on the day of the event.
Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township and the interim project manager of On the Ground Ypsilanti. She has served as innovation and jobs/development news writer for Concentrate since early 2017 and is an occasional contributor to Driven. You may reach her at email@example.com.
Photo by Doug Coombe.