Angry Bear Festival returns to downtown Marquette

Ore Dock Brewing Company's 2nd Festival of the Angry Bear Festival is taking over Spring Street in downtown Marquette April 18. Ore Dock pours the refreshments, Das Steinhaus provides the food, and a host of musical acts keep the fun going well into the evening.
Last year's inaugural Festival of the Angry Bear, Ore Dock Brewing Company's largest festival to date, went off without a hitch--despite icy winds and periodic bouts of mixed precipitation. This year, downtown Marquette's biggest brewery is doubling down with an expanded festival on April 18. The goal: to put on an epic early spring celebration revolving around the release of "The Angry Bear," a special barrel-aged sour brown ale that lends the festival its name.

Key elements of last year's Festival of the Angry Bear will remain the same. Activity will concentrate on Spring Street in downtown Marquette, right in front of Ore Dock. Das Steinhaus will serve as the event's main caterer, offering up an array of wursts, pretzels and half-chickens familiar to anyone who's eaten in its Front Street dining room, as well as edgier favorites like falafel and lamb pitas. And Double Trouble Entertainment will "double" as master of ceremonies and the event's main source of non-musical entertainment.

But this year's festival will be different in key respects -- and bigger, overall.

Extra Beer?

First, after running out fairly quickly last year, Ore Dock's brewing team took pains to prepare a lot more of the festival's signature beer, which takes nearly a year to age.

"Both the blending and aging processes involved with this style of beer requires a fair amount of preparation," explains Adam Robarge, Ore Dock Brewing Company's community liaison.  "We've built up a solid storage for this year's fest and we'll continue to increase our production with each year that follows."

After a 5 p.m. tapping ceremony, festival-goers will be free to taste this year's edition of Angry Bear until it's gone. But don't worry: Ore Dock will be serving up its regular lineup of permanent taps and seasonals too, so the festival itself is in no danger of running dry.

Music Galore

This year's festival will also feature lots more music: Michael Waite, Oh Brother Big Sister, Mike and The Mutts, Dragon Wagon, and the Scott Pellegrom Trio (SP3) will all be in attendance. (The Ore Dock boasts that the acts will travel a combined 2,000 miles to get to Marquette on the big day.)

"We have a really wide range of genres this year," says Anjila Holland, who handles entertainment bookings for Ore Dock. "It's kind of exemplary of the entertainment types we strive to provide over the course of the entire year."

And the music will continue even after the Spring Street festivities close, as Dragon Wagon takes the stage in Ore Dock's upstairs entertainment area to round out the evening.

Costume Contests and (Sort of) Real Bears, Oh My!

Another Angry Bear 2015 highlight: a judged costume contest that will coronate a festival king and queen. According to Robarge, "Festival-goers are urged to dress up in their favorite forest creature attire." Things could get interesting there.

Finally, Ore Dock has invited two special guests to add a (somewhat) educational veneer to this year's Festival of the Angry Bear. The Marquette County Conservation District will run a "pollination station" where festival-goers can taste locally made honey as a representative from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources gives a presentation on the Upper Peninsula's black bear population.

The 2nd Annual Festival of the Angry Bear runs from 3 p.m. to midnight Saturday, April 18 this year. Parking is available in the lots between Spring and Baraga streets, and in the municipal lot south of Lower Harbor Park.

Brian Martucci writes about business, finance, food, drink and anything else that catches his fancy. You can find him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci
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