BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Timing is everything. And for the annual Fort Madison Barley Hops event the timing could be perfect.
With balmy weather predicted in the evening and some rain projected for the morning and the BNSF Rail Company finishing up their work on the crossings during the day on Friday, it could all wind up being the perfect chance to get down on the Mississippi Riverfront and taste some of the best microbrews around, while listening to good local music and tasting top-notch local fares.
The event hosted by Fort Madison Partners is sponsored this year by Atlas Steak & Smokehouse with the music being sponsored by Griffin Muffler & Brake Center.
Tim Gobble, executive director of Fort Madison Partners, was at the site most of the day Wednesday and Thursday setting up. A chore made no less easy by the closure of most of the rail line crossovers on the east end of town.
Gobble said he’s hoping timing is on his side as he stepped over rail ties and around barricades on his way to the west end of the riverfront where the event will be held.
“Well I’m working with the government affairs office (of BNSF) and (Mayor) Brad (Randolph) has been calling as well and what we’re being told is that they should be done somewhere between 2 and 4 p.m. tomorrow,” Gobble said of the rail company’s closure of the street crossings through 23rd Street.
“There’s no guarantee of that because they said there may be some rain, but from what I’ve seen the rain is supposed to be in the morning, and I don’t know what time these guys get started.”
In the event that the crossings aren’t open, attendees may have to cross over the walk bridge just west of the North Lee County Historical Society building, but all signs point to the riverfront being open by the kick off of the event.
Gobble said pre-sale of the signature Barley Hops glasses are in pace with last year’s sales but those that haven’t had a chance to get the glasses can pick them up for $15 each at the Fort Madison Chamber office, 614 9th Street, or at Atlas Steak & Smokehouse at 709 Avenue H in Fort Madison.
Glasses will also be available for sale at the gate Friday night. The event runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. All proceeds benefit Fort Madison beautification projects. For more information, contact the Fort Madison Partners office at 319-372-5471.
This is a 21+ event and Partners request you plan ahead to have a designated driver. Music will be provided by the Packard Perry Project and the food vendors will include Atlas Steak & Smokehouse with slider burger baskets, a newcomer to the event, 10th Street Station, will be offering a tenderloin basket and appetizer foods, and Fort Madison’s “Fork-It” food truck will be on site with chicken tacos.
As of Monday, 17 microbrews have joined the event to offer samplings of their original craft beers. Those include the following:
Backpocket Brewing (Coralville, Iowa)
Ballist Point (San Diego, CA- rep will be attending)
Bent River Brewing (Burlington/Rock Island)
East Grove Farms (Salem, Iowa)
Front Street Brewing (Davenport, Iowa)
Iowa Brewing (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)
Kalona Brewing Co (Kalona, Iowa)
Keg Creek (Glenwood, IA)
Lion Bridge (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)
Lost Duck Brewing Co (Fort Madison, IA)
Mill Stream Brewing Company (Amana, IA)
Parkside Brewing (Burlington, Iowa)
V’s Brewpub (Keokuk, Iowa)
AND let’s not forget about our Distributors participating:
Fleck Sales (West Burlington, IA)
Golden Eagle Distributing Co. (Mount Pleasant, IA)
Johnson Brothers of Iowa (Johnston, IA)
Fort Madison Partners asks everyone to celebrate heartily and responsibly.