Happy hour will come early during Wheaton’s first Bloody Mary Fest

With a tagline of “10 a.m. is the new 10 p.m.,” Wheaton’s first Bloody Mary Fest is looking to make the morning hours happier.

Sponsored by the Downtown Wheaton Association, 16 downtown restaurants and retailers are participating in the inaugural celebration of the iconic brunch cocktail from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 18.

“We’re super excited about this one,” DWA executive director Allison Orr said. “It’s different and new, and there’s nothing like this in the Western suburbs.”

Created about 100 years ago and oft-touted as a surefire hangover cure, the standard Bloody Mary features vodka, tomato juice and other spices like Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, hot sauce, lemon juice, pepper and celery salt.

Fest-goers will get to choose from 16 different combinations of liquors and mixers that run the gamut from spicy to mild.

In addition to takes on the standard vodka version, fest-goers will be able to sip a Bloody Maria made with tequila, a Red Snapper with gin and a Bloody Caesar, which substitutes clamato juice for standard tomato. It may sound weird to the uninitiated, but it’s the national drink of Canada, so it can’t be all bad, eh?

“Walking food” to pair with the drinks will be available for purchase from participating restaurants. Afternoon Logic will provide live music throughout the event.

  The Cottage home decor store in downtown Wheaton will take part in the city’s Bloody Mary Fest Saturday, May 18. Rick West/

Tickets for the fest are $40, which include four, 4-ounce tastings of different variations from the shop of choice. Participating businesses include Amante Marketplace, Billy Bricks Wood Fired Pizza, DoodleBug Workshop, Images Med Spa, Ivy Restaurant, Jeans and a Cute Top Shop, Lori Mesa Antiques & Fine Jewelry, Maypole, MION Artisan Soap Co., Miroballi Shoes (which will serve as the designated driver lounge), Proof No. 5, Stitch Switch Men's Consignment, The Babe Bodega, The Cottage, Wildflower Mercantile and Wyckwood House.

Check-in starts at 9:30 a.m. at the “W” tent on Front Street, where fest-goers will have their ID checked and get a wristband and map of where to find specific flavors.

Orr said many of the special events, such as the craft beer crawl, sell out, so she recommends buying tickets in advance at

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