Barbecue, booze and more return to Ferndale for Pig & Whiskey

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published October 12, 2022

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FERNDALE — The smell of barbecue and whiskey soon will permeate the air in downtown Ferndale with the return of the Pig & Whiskey festival.

The 12th annual Pig & Whiskey will take place in Ferndale Oct. 14-16 near Woodward Avenue and East Troy Street. The hours will be 6 p.m. to midnight Friday, Oct. 14; noon to midnight Saturday, Oct. 15; and noon to 11 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 16.

The big pull of Pig & Whiskey is its selection of food and drinks that patrons can enjoy, with a heavy focus on its barbecue and whiskey drinks. Event organizer and founder Chris Johnston said there will be 10 participating restaurants for the event.

“There’ll be a lot of barbecue there but other things, as well,” he said, adding that there will be vegan food choices, too. “(Ten restaurants) is probably a few less than what we usually have, but there’s also been a conscious decision to just make sure that it’s successful for all the vendors that are there. So we have less and try to get a good selection of everything for the attendees to try.”

A press release states that the WAB Whiskey Lounge will feature “select, top-shelf spirits released every hour on the hour throughout the festival,” and they will be available upstairs at Woodward Avenue Brewers. There also will be musical performances from Local H, Ibibio Sound Machine, Handgrenades, Ohly, Dude, Canfield, Royal Sweets, Twin Deer and Lyons.

Previously held during the summer, Pig & Whiskey has taken place in October the past two years after COVID-19 forced the event to be moved. Johnston said the weather during last year’s festival wasn’t particularly good, but he is hopeful for better weather this year.

Johnston, who helped put on the DIY Street Fair last month, noted that there will be two large tents for people to enjoy their drinks and food, as opposed to the smaller tents that Pig & Whiskey had in years past.

“For me, that was something that was always missing. It’s like, what if we have really strong winds or rain and we had no place for people to be, but now it’s almost like an indoor/outdoor event, as well. And those are always fun for me to go to. So I hope that people feel the same way.

Mayor Pro Tem Kat Bruner James, a 20-year resident of the city, said many like her have lived in the city for a long time because of the ability to be near the downtown and enjoy events like this.

“Events like Pig & Whiskey often are a highlight of the year, both in terms of walking down and enjoying the events ourselves or, like in my neighborhood where we have front porches, a lot of us will hang out on the front porch and chat and wave to people as they head downtown. It’s just a nice opportunity to interact with people outdoors and engage as a community.

The event is free to attend, as well as dog-friendly. For more information on Pig & Whiskey, visit