A hungry girl's adventures in Cleveland and beyond.

Grapes & Ale is an annual fundraiser for Our Lady of the Wayside. You likely have heard of them on TV because of their car donation program commercial's catchy tune. This local non-profit provides residential, respite, transportation and social service programming for individuals with disabilities. Grapes & Ale has been one of their largest fundraiser for the past 12 years and this year they raised over $80,000. Their CEO Terry Davis said, "We try to put the "fun" in fundraising" and they really succeeded!

Progressive Field's concourse was the setting for the "Hottest BBQ of the Summer." This allowed for great views of the field as well as provided welcome shade on the sultry summer evening.

Over 200 wines were featured including Cupcake, Apothic, Big House, Ste Michelle, Hess, Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz/Cab, House of Martini, Hess, and my top pick Decoy from Duckhorn. There were so many great choices I didn't come close to tasting them all! I did discover a great sipper for summer - Oliver BeanBlossom Hard Cider
This cider tastes light and refreshing but comes with an 8% kick so savor and sip. It's a great gluten-free beer substitute and comes in super cute aluminum cans. I tried the peach, strawberry and raspberry and loved them.

I also tried X-rated Fusion Liqueur. This is one of those sexy-but-cheesy looking bottles that I see in the liquor store but never want to spend $20+ to try. While I wasn't thrilled about it straight (too sweet) I think it would be fun to add to cocktails or sangria.

In addition to the crazy big wine selection, they also offered beer drinkers a nice mix of brews to choose from. Our local favs Great Lakes Brewing Co were there in addition to Blue Moon, Leinenkugels, Magic Hat, Shock Top and Goose Island. I was very happy to see one of my favorites there as well, Pyramid Breweries. Their Apricot Wheat is sooo yummy!

Lots of tasty choices were available for food: 100th Bomber Group,  Famous Dave's, Battery Park Wine Bar, Hot Sauce Williams, Becker's and Progressive Field were featured. 

With only 4 BBQ vendors to chose from, we easily sampled them all. Battery Park was my first stop because I am such a fan of their regular menu. Their chipotle BBQ short ribs served with Spanish potato and green bean salad was a great way to kick off the night. I love how they had the buns ready to go but didn't put the short ribs on top until they served you - no soggy buns! 
Famous Dave's was also a hit - they served pulled pork sliders with corn bread. I may or may not have gone back more than once. The corn bread was outstanding - moist, flavorful and just a touch of sweetness. I loved their special hot sauce "Devil's Spit" - it added a nice kick and an extra dimension of flavor. I'd never tried their food and thought they were a local joint but found that they are in 36 states including Hawaii. Next time I'm at Great Northern, I'll be paying them a visit for sure.
I was also a first timer at Hot Sauce Williams and was very excited to see what they were cookin' up for us. Their menu was rib tips, coleslaw and vegetarian baked beans. The pork cubes looked and smelled great but were tough - way too chewy. The coleslaw and baked beans were really good though so they are still on my list of places I need to try. 
The 100th Bomb Group served smoked BBQ brisket. The sauce was good but I'm not a huge fan of sliced meat in BBQ sauce so this wasn't my favorite. But I really liked the coleslaw on the bun. I found out they they have Summer Bunker concert series Thursday through Sunday on the patio or O-deck if you are looking for some outdoor music and fun while watching airplanes fly overhead.
I was pleasantly surprised to see Progressive Field dishing out ballpark hotdogs, pretzels, popcorn and sno-cones - what a fun treat! They also had chicken ribs, mac 'n cheese, Italian antipasti, pesto pasta and fruit and veggies that I never made it to because I simply had run out of room!

I did manage to squeeze in a some sweet treats from Becker's. It was my first time trying these local favorites and they are on my list to visit next time I'm in Fairview Park.
And Our Lady of the Wayside's very own Green Kitchen provided a refreshing snack of organic watermelon slices and grapes - perfect to help stay hydrated and satisfy your sweet tooth.

In addition to eating and drinking ourselves silly and playing wine pong and beer slide, we also explored Heritage Park, the Indian's Hall of Fame. If you haven't seen it yet, you should really check it out. We enjoyed remembering our favorite players and look forward to the upcoming Jim Thome statue.
I Kicked it With Kenny...
Made new friends...
Morgan from Our Lady of the Wayside
Ended the evening at a dance party in Concourse C...
Kate and Morgan from Our Lady of the Wayside
...and was sad to see the night come to an end. 
A surprise parting gift of peanuts and Cracker Jacks left us smiling as we left and looking forward to next year!

Their next fundraiser is the 5th Annual Amateur Golf Championship on August 13th. Click here for more info. They also have Stress Buster Spa Days the 2nd and 4th Saturdays in August and September. Click here to learn more.

** Disclosure: I was provided 2 tickets for the event by Our Lady of the Wayside.
As always, this did not affect my post and my thoughts are my own. **
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