Last year I had attended the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival and the Summer of Rum Festival, both put on by Big City Events. I had a great time at both events, so I was excited when I found out there was going to be an addition to their line up - the Spring Beer Fling - to be held in Curtis Hixon Park. I knew it would be a fun filled day of fun in the sun, drinks, music, and friends.
Now me personally, I'm not a huge beer drinker. I'll have one every once in a while. So why go to a beer festival? Well for one thing the coordinators were smart. They weren't just serving beer. They had ciders, and they had vodka cocktails. Plus with the VIP option - unlimited pours - I would get to try out different types of beer. Maybe I would find one I really like. Would this happen at a bar? No. Would this happen somewhere that an unlimited pour option wasn't available? No.
I had invited my friend Sara to join me and we were eagerly awaiting the Saturday of the Beer Fling. Mother nature, however, had other plans. A few days before the event the people from Big City Events made the decision to switch the date of the event to Sunday. A bad rain storm was headed to the Tampa area on Saturday. There was a lot of backlash against the event coordinators on their Facebook page. People were complaining. Even I was a bit upset with the change, since I had work on Sunday until 5. Then I thought about it, and figured I'd head over to the event a little late and make the most of it. Better to be late and have a clear day, then be stuck out in a storm and have my day ruined.
And the event coordinators made the right decision. When Saturday, the original date of the event came around, it poured. The rain would have made for a very soggy and terrible festival of any kind. I was glad that they switched the date and had made a smart decision.
After work on Sunday I drove over to my friends house and we head to the event together. Yes, we got there late, so we missed a lot of the fun, but it wasn't rainy. Some of the bands had already played, but it looked like everyone was having a good time. We picked up our VIP wristbands at the gate and got our souvenir beer glasses.
We headed to the VIP tent. If you had a VIP band, which we did, you had access to a sectioned off, tented area, with your own bartenders. This was nice because the lines weren't long for drinks. I wanted to try an Eddy Palmer (Eddy Vodka's version of an Arnold Palmer - sweat tea vodka and lemonade) but they had run out of sweat tea vodka. I asked the bartender what she recommended and she came up with a tasty concoction of grapefruit vodka and lemonade. it was delicious. I also grabbed an angry orchard cider to try. I absolutely loved it. This will be a great alternative to beer for me. I wound up having a few more of these that night.
After the first two drinks in the tent we walked around to check out the food. We were each given a meal voucher with our VIP ticket and decided to use it on the food trucks. There were a few different food trucks, but the one we decided on had paninis and sounded delicious. We both ordered a steak panini with a side order of fries. After waiting for quite some time the lady called us over and told us there was only enough steak left for one. We decided we would split that and get something else. As we started to try and decide what other sandwich we would want they start crossing off pretty much everything else not heir menu. Bummer. We opted to just share one sandwich, get a refund for the other, and continue to look around. Little did i know that whole process would take FOREVER.
We were good sports, still having a good time, and the panini and dies were good. We shared that meal and walked around some more. Then we stumbled on something amazing. FRIED OREOS! I had been craving fried oreos since back in January when the Florida Sate fair was around. I wanted to go just for this lovely little treat, but didn't make it. Then I could have had them at the Strawberry Festival, but missed that too even though I live about 5 minutes away. I was super excited when I saw these fabulous little pieces of yumminess. Sara and I both got one order and headed back to the VIP tent.
We got another drink and sat down to enjoy our fried oreo goodness. The sun started to set and the retro decor looked awesome all lit up. The band was playing and we people-watched as many danced around the stage.
Mother nature still wasn't liking us that much because it was a pretty chilly night for Tampa. We were thinking about leaving early because of the weather when all of a sudden they started the lighted beach ball drop. It was definitely a fun sight to see all of the glowing beach balls flying over the stage and into the outstretched arms of the crowd. Sara and I might just had grabbed and played with a few. Then there were the lucky ones who grabbed "winning" beach balls. They had codes for free entries or discount codes to other Big City events.
After the ball drop it was time to head home. It was cold, and it was Sunday night after all. Even after the date was changed, we arrived late, and the weather was colder than ideal we still had a great time. I got to find a drink I really like as well. I can't wait for the upcoming Big City Events. Next up....Margarita Festival May 24!
*As a member of the Tampa Bay Bloggers I received 2 VIP tickets to Spring Beer Fling in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.