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posted: 7/3/2014 12:50 PM

Highwood parparing to host fifth annual Bloody Mary Fest

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Highwood Chamber of Commerce submission

Highwood's popular Bloody Mary Fest celebrates its fifth year take place Sunday, July 27, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Everts Park, 130 Highwood Ave.

Festivalgoers can sample a selection of the ever-popular Bloody Mary. Vendors will bring their best recipes to share and compete for the title of "Best Bloody Mary in the Midwest."

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The day will kick off with the Buddy Challenge & 5K Run, benefiting Kids Rank.

"Highwood's Bloody Mary Festival has transformed a simple drink made of vodka and tomato juice into a meal in itself with garnishes like celery sticks, pickles, olives, shrimp, pepperoni, pepperoncini, pickled asparagus, you name it -- a salad in a glass with a kick," says Jennifer Zanotti-Ori, president of the Highwood Chamber of Commerce.

Mixologists from leading bars and restaurants will have the chance to share their unique recipes with the public while competing to create the "Best Bloody Mary." The competition includes a People's Choice Award and formal judging by some of Chicago's media personalities.

The battle for the Best Bloody Mary will begin at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 27, as the judges taste each contestant's take on the classic drink and determine the winners, which will be announced at 4:30 p.m.

The winners of Bloody Mary Fest will receive a trophy, recognition throughout the local media, and bragging rights for the whole year. The fee is $25 to be a contestant only; or $150 to be a Bloody Mary vendor/contestant.

The fest will offer plenty of activities for all ages such as exploring the artisan goods from market vendors, enjoying live entertainment, food and drinks, and kids' activities, including bouncy houses.

The Highwood Chamber is proud to announce the Buddy Challenge & 5K Run will benefit the nonprofit organization Kids Rank. The Buddy Challenge is based on the U.S. Army Major General Jimmie J. Wells Challenge.

Participants will pair up and be put to the test doing push ups, calisthenics, the fireman carry, buddy drag, piggyback carry, and 100 upper body and 100 core exercises, with and plenty of running in between.

The Buddy Challenge & 5K Run will kickoff at 9 a.m. in front of The Bent Fork Bakery, Walker Avenue and Sheridan Road. If you don't have a partner in mind, race organizers will pair up the singles and no participant will race alone. Participants will receive a commemorative T-shirt. Packet pickup will be at Equinox in Highland Park.

The fee is $30 to participate. Challengers can sign up at buddychallenge2014.eventbrite.com. For information, such as a course map, go to celebratehighwood.com/bloodymary.html. For information on Bloody Mary Fest or to get an application form for the Bloody Mary competition, visit celebratehighwood.com/bloodymary.html or call (847) 432-6000.

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