A night of food and fun extends to an after-party, house party and a ditch at the end of the street
The first Saturday in June was packed with amazing outdoor events. There was the African-American Cultural Festival in the King-Lincoln District. There was also Summer 614 at Columbus Commons, featuring performances from Slick Rick, Ginuwine and other hip-hop and R&B stars of the '80s and '90s. Then there was the first annual Chicken and Beer festival at Land-Grant, which donated proceeds to the Franklinton Preparatory Academy.
I arrived at about 5:30 p.m. to a smaller crowd than I expected, but apparently the event received a healthy and steady stream of attendees which took event organizers — Eric Rollin and Danielle Miller — by surprise. The beer selection had already dwindled by the time I came, and at one point Rollin had to dart to the store when the alcohol completely ran out.
That hiccup didn't ruin an overall fun experience. The chicken I ate from one of four food trucks was delicious, the live music was great — I really enjoyed Rollin's band, Mistar Anderson — and I got my nostalgia fix from the various games and activities set up on the grounds. There was a table with Connect Four and a whole binder of Pogs, though, as a kid, I never learned how to play the game. I just stacked and re-stacked my collection and begged my mother for a holographic skull slammer.
There were also hula hoops, cornhole, miniature golf and craps with giant dice that I could barely throw. The most brilliant option, however, was the Rock Paper Scissors Arena, which was literally designated by a circle of rocks. A lot of serious battles took place there.
The arena is also where I met a group of friends, old and new, and we wound up hanging out for most of the night. The official Chicken and Beer after-party was at Rehab Tavern, but we headed over there early. In addition to having an engaging discussion with my group, and cheating on my diet by eating the bar's mouth-watering tater tots, I met some interesting people on trips to the bar. A guy who called himself “One-n Glen” bought me a shot of bourbon and a British Jamaican man swept me onto the dance floor.
We didn't leave until around 11:30 p.m. when I headed to a house party, which a friend from the fest encouraged me to attend. In the midst of looking for parking, I drove into a ditch. Mortified, I had to make my entrance into the party by asking a crowd of mostly strangers to help me get my car out of a hole at the end of the street. But after that I had a fantastic time.
So I'd say the Chicken and Beer Festival was a success not only for Rollin and Miller, but for me as it connected me with good food, good beer and good company well into the early hours of Sunday morning.