Mac & Cheese Festival

Apparently your girl has got festivals down to an art! Who knew!?! Turns out being a planner and an over thinker was the perfect combination for turning up to the Mac & Cheese Festival this Summer with a game plan and in style.

What is the Mac & Cheese Festival and doesn’t it sound amazing?! Let me give you some background information here. This past summer, the Mac & Cheese Fest was held on Father’s Day weekend in Kalamazoo at Homer Stryker Baseball Field. (Home to the Kalamazoo Growlers) I’ve known about the festival for a couple years and happen to be on the priority list for tickets. You can learn more here.

Tickets sell out FAST! There are two types of tickets and the VIP lets you in 2 hours early. Along with your ticket you’re given a hat, spork, cup and lanyard. The tickets come with tokens for drinks and food separately.  Because this was held on Father’s Day weekend, I treated my Parentals for Mother’s & Father’s Day this year to the Festival. Snagging all 3 of us VIP tickets the day they went on sale. We even crashed the system that morning! Needless to say, get your tickets early y’all. 

After doing research and reading a LOT of reviews from past attendees… I created my own logo for the festival, using it to make a tote bag , can koozies for our cups, check list for the beer venders, and a check list for the Mac & Cheese vendors. Let’s dive into those a bit…

What’s inside my Festival Tote Bag:

  • Tickets // Have your tickets printed & ready to go! While you’re waiting in line outside, someone will come by and scan them to get the line moving faster. 
  • Parking // Parking is $15 per car. Knowing this, I had exact change ready to hand to them in an envelope months ahead of time.
  • Paper Plates // #1 Item!!!!! We were asked SO many times where I got the plates! You see, they hold the cups you’re given nicely so that you can hold multiples at once while you’re waiting in line. These were such a lifesaver and my #1 recommendation!
  • Napkins/Forks/Straws // These were just extras on hand to have. Vendors had extra forks and napkins for you. You were also given a spork when you first came in. I wasn’t sure going in though. I knew about the spork and wanted to make sure to have back ups on hand! We did end up using the napkins the most. 
  • Can Koozies // Everyone at the festival is given the exact same yellow festival cup with the same logo on it. Set it down to get your drink at a table and then you’re not sure who’s it is?! Thinking this one through, I made custom koozies for all of us that fit perfectly on the cups and they never got lost!
  • Food & Drink Check Lists // I took the lists of vendors off of the website ahead of the festival and created a list for us. It turned out to be WAY more informational than the packet we were handed at the festival. Since we were waiting in line to get it for a while, it was perfect for us to look at and create a wish list (aka game plan). I brought extras and even handed them to those around us as they got curious as well. These turned out SUPER fun!!
  • Sun Tan Lotion // Make sure to protect your skin y’all! You’re outside on the baseball field with little to no cover for hours on end. 
  • Sunglasses // Again, you’re outside on the baseball field with little to no cover for hours on end. 
  • Purse // My purse was smaller for the weekend and fit perfectly within the tote! That way if needed, I could just carry the purse. 

Now, what did I think? Honestly, there were some stand out rockstars in the Mac & Cheese bunch for sure!! But I gotta say, I was very disappointed in some of the vendors. Guys, I’m a bit of a foodie. Mac & Cheese is my #1 jam, and you thought you would bring FROZEN Mac!?!?!?! Yeah, I noticed it all. I ended up trying 15 of the Mac’s. (Missing only 3?).

Here are my Top 3:

  • Paw Paw Brewery // Return of the Mac (4 Cheese Ratatore Mac). This one ran out fast! I could totally see why. I think I ended up eating my family’s leftovers of this one as well. It was clearly, THAT GOOD! This was more of a white Mac, 
  • Soul Sides // Baked Mac. This was actually the very first one I grabbed, who knew they would set the bar and spoil me?! They also ran out fast, clearly a winner! This one was a classic Mac and so, SO GOOD!
  • HopCat Kalamazoo // Traditional Hopmac or Al Fresco (Fresh jalapeños, tomatoes, basil, and arugula). Of course I would LOVE HopCat! I’ve been a HopCat fan for years!! I’ve been to HopCat in Ann Arbor, East Lansing and now KZoo. Guess I’m heading to HopCat in A2 for my next Mac craving! 

Curious about the Drinks? My favorite by far was Long Drink! I went back and tried all of the flavors!! It ended up becoming my new drink of the summer. 

It was definitely a relaxed, fun filled, BLESSED weekend in Kalamazoo! Not to mention completely needed. If you’re thinking about going next year, let me know and I’ll happily answer questions. Have a blessed week y’all!

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