Downtown Norcross will do a little rocking, some swinging and a bit of swaying to the beat of the blues this weekend.
The Ninth Annual Bluesberry and Beer Festival will be held from 3 to 10 p.m. Saturday in Betty Mauldin Park, located next to the Iron Horse Tavern and Norcross City Hall at the corner of Lawrenceville and Jones streets. The event, which is held every June, features several blues solo artists and bands as well as beer trucks. Several restaurants around the city’s downtown district will also offer special deals on drinks, food, yoga lessons, antiques and other merchandise.
“In Norcross, summer and blueberries go hand-in-hand,” Norcross Mayor Craig Newton said. “It’s become tradition here to celebrate longer days, warmer nights and the season’s freshest berries with some really great blues music. That’s what the Bluesberry and Beer Festival is all about.”
In past years, the Bluesberry festival has drawn blues music fans from across metro Atlanta to downtown Norcross. Many attendees bring lawn chairs or blankets to sit on, and it’s not uncommon to see some attendees get up and dance in front of the stage while participating musicians perform.
“I’ve added six bands from the beginning when we only did two, so people can expect more bands and that will probably start around 3:30 or so,” Bluesberry festival organizer Mike Holley said.
This year’s music lineup includes: the Cazanovas, a frequent Bluesberry festival participant; Beverly “Guitar” Watkins; Real Deal; Cody Matlock, another recurring Bluesberry festival participant; Red Sugar Blues; and Frankie Lee’s Blues Mission.
“I think what’s going to be special about this year is Beverly ‘Guitar’ Watkins is 80 this year, so I’m going to kind of present her with something for her 80th year,” Holley said. “She’s a well-known legend around town and a good friend of mine. She used to be a guitar player for Piano Red back in the day and has done stuff with James Brown and lots of really cool artists.”
The Iron Horse Tavern will host the beer trucks in its parking lot, which is located between the restaurant and the park.Tickets for beer cost $5 and can be purchased in the Iron Horse Tavern.
Beers slated to be on tap this year include Sweetwater, Abita, Orpheus, Ballast Point, Ommegang, Southbound, Rogue, Goose Island, Jekyll, Red Hare, Lazy Magnolia, Reformation and Monday Night.
Several other downtown restaurants will be offering food and drink specials Saturday to tie into the festival. Those specials include:
♦ 45 South Cafe: French Toast with a Blueberry Compote; Summer Salad with Fresh Blueberries
♦ Chase’s Wingery and Grille: Fresh Blueberry Lemonade, Blueberry Ice Cream Sandwiches
♦ Dominick’s: Sweet Loree Ann’s Blueberry Cake, Blueberry Limoncello Mule Drinks
♦ The Crossing: Electric Blue Lemonade Cocktail
♦ Mojitos: Blueberry Mojito
♦ Paizanos: Blueberry Sangria
♦ VSOP Taproom: Blueberry Fontaine Danish, Blueberry Tart, Blueberry and Creme Tart, 15% off Wild Blueberry Aged Balsamic Vinegar
In addition to the restaurant specials, some downtown businesses that don’t serve food or drinks will offer specials of their own. Taste of Britain will offer 30% off all blue dot items. Studio 87 Yoga will offer one month of unlimited classes for $49 and one month of four classes for $39. Antique Traditions will hold a Bluesberry clearance sale and have Bluesberry refreshments as well as extended store hours of 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Norcross officials said attendees can find downtown businesses offering special deals by looking for “cool blue dude” decals in front of the stores.