Brat Fest and ‘Bertapalooza’ Bring Crowds to Bayfront Festival Park
Two Fundraising events in Bayfront for the first time.
DULUTH, Minn.- What do Bratwurst, Beer and a guy named Bert have in common?
They all occupied Bayfront for the first time this weekend, to donate to local charities.
Festival season has begun at Bayfront Park in Duluth with Brat Fest and Bertapalooza.
The sizzle of Bratwurst cooking on the grill means a new festival making its mark at Bayfront, and attendees are eating it up. Which is what organizers hope for them.
“To get stuffed,” said Shaine Stokke, owner of Stokke’s Meats. “Eat a lot of good food, drink a lot of good craft beer.”
Brat Fest brought in over a thousand people, trying over 6,000 samples of 11 different kinds of Bratwurst.
“It’s just been nonstop since 11:00,” Stokke said. “I’ve been behind this grill flipping brats.”
The crowds surprised organizers, but didn’t catch them, off-guard.
“I feel like it’s running really smooth,” said Stokke. “Years of winning Grill Wars prepared us for running these types of events.”
Right after Brat Fest, another event with live music, games, and food trucks took Birthday Bash to a new level.
“Started a long time ago, just Bertapalooza as my birthday party,” said Matt “Bert” Berthiaume.
“So about 75 of my closest friends came and we had so much fun we decided that we were just gonna keep the tradition going.”
For the annual Bertapalooza, it’s been a journey to get to Bayfront.
“Never anticipated. We were at the Rex one year and my friend said ‘1 day you’re gonna be at Bayfront.’ And I was like you’re out of your mind, you’re crazy,” Bert said.
“And then y’know 6 years later here we are.”
Not only was it the first time at Bayfront for both events, they both raised money for local charities.
“I really feel like it’s worth it,” said Stokke. “It’s gonna go to a great charity, we had a lot of fun today.”
Brat Fest proceeds went to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, and Bertapalooza’s Summerfest is fundraising for the Northern Lights Foundation.
“If you can you really should,” Bert said. “And sometimes it’s hard to change the world but you can change someone’s world.”
“And that’s why here locally you can just help some families.”