Monday, June 20, 2011

BRU Fest 2011

How do you turn this:

The Royal Oak Farmers' Market the morning of June 18th.
into this:

The Royal Oak Farmers' Market during BRU Fest on June 18th.

in less than six hours? 

Take about 1,000 people, a whole lot of beer, burgers, and chicken wings, and bring them together in the center of the Royal Oak Farmers' Market.  But this wasn't your average beer festival; BRU was designed to bring people together with great food and quality craft beer to share their good fortune for the benefit of children and adults affected by leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood related cancers throughout the state of Michigan.

The brainchild of this event was William Seklar, the President and CEO of the Children's Leukemia Foundation of Michigan.  When he pitched the idea to the other partners involved - Bell's Brewery, Bagger Dave's, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Treat Dreams - they were all instantly on board with the idea.

David Munro, left and William Seklar, right

The goal was to get 1,000 in attendance, and it appears that the young demographic that Royal Oak is known for made it the perfect setting for this event.  Approximately 600 pre-sale tickets were sold, and the final number at the ticket counter was right around 1,000.  

David Munro, the Regional Brewery Representative from Bell's informed us that they supplied 28 half barrels and 4 quarter barrels of 13 different Bell's beers Saturday night: everything from the well-known summer favorite Oberon to Batch 9,000, Batch 10,000, Cherry Stout, and Bell’s Consecrator Doppelbock. The Cherry Stout and Consecrator Doppellbock are usually not available at this time of year and the Batch 9,000 and 10,000 were limited release beers from 2009 and 2010, respectively.

Mark Dizik from Rave Associates handing out some beer samples.

Wings from Buffalo Wild Wings and burgers from Bagger Dave's were available throughout the evening, and were gobbled up as quickly as the cooks could get them out of the kitchen and the wait staff could serve them.  

Treat Dreams from Ferndale offered up a surprising dessert menu that was not to be missed - a Bell's Oberon orange sorbet, salted caramel ice cream for making Bell's beer floats, and my personal favorite, a Bell's Cherry Stout ice cream with marshmallows and tart cherries swirled throughout it.  DJ Mike Anthony was also on hand to provide musical entertainment for the evening.

Volunteers handing out samples from Treat Dreams
DJ Mike Anthony

Rick Gehlert, Account Manager at Cadillac Coffee Company based in Madison Heights, told us he was approached by two of his clients, Bagger Dave's and Buffalo Wild Wings, with the idea to provide coffee and other refreshments for the designated drivers at the event and was honored to be a part of such a great cause and couldn't refuse the opportunity.  Event attendees even received a free sample of coffee from Cadillac when exiting the event. 

Rick Gehlert

Judging by the phenomenal success of this inaugural BRU Fest, one can only assume that this will undoubtedly become an annual tradition, so I feel it's pretty safe to say that Seth and I hope to see you at BRU Fest 2012!

In America alone, one child or adult is diagnosed with leukemia every five minutes, and that rate of diagnosis is twice as much as compared to AIDS in the U.S.  Leukemia accounts for about a third of cancer cases in children 0-14 years old.  The Children's Leukemia Foundation of Michigan is a statewide nonprofit foundation that helps families by providing financial assistance, information, and emotional support.  The foundation was formed in Detroit in 1952 by a group of parents who had been affected by the loss of a child due to leukemia.  Over the years it has helped thousands of families fight the life-threatening illness, and has provided over $6.5 million in research dollars to Michigan's comprehensive cancer institutes.  For more information or to find out how you can help support this great foundation, visit

*The WALK for Leukemia event is scheduled for June 25th in Grand Rapids, and there is still time to sign up and show your support. 

More of our photos from this event are available on our Facebook page.


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