A high vantage point shows an event at Memorial Park, where the Fork and Cork Festival will be held Sept. 20-22.

A high vantage point shows an event at Memorial Park, where the Fork and Cork Festival will be held Sept. 20-22.

Photo provided by Andrew Neal

Fork and Cork Festival to return to Utica for 2nd year

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published September 16, 2019


UTICA — The Fork and Cork Festival will return to downtown Utica Sept. 20-22 for a second year of good times and good music.

After a successful first year, the event organizers decided to host the event again in Utica with added activities.

“We’re very excited for this year’s festival. We have plenty of new stuff this year — three days of food, music and fun in downtown Utica,” Mark Nicholson, the editor at Gazette Media Group, which is hosting the event, said in an email.

The festival will be held in Memorial Park from 4 to 10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20; from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21; and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 22, rain or shine. Last year, the event was held in the Fire Department’s parking lot.

“The city is very happy to support the Fork and Cork Festival. This event brings thousands of people to our city for the weekend. Our restaurants and local shops all benefit from this,” Utica Mayor Thom Dionne said in an email.

The festival also will take place in the municipal lots at the Utica Public Library and behind the Police Department.

The Fork and Cork Festival will highlight food from local restaurants and food trucks, offer a selection of wine and craft beer tents, provide music from local and national performers, and feature art and handcrafted items for sale from local artists and artisans.

“We have over 80 exhibitors and 30 local artisans. Plus, this year’s festival, we’re proudly featuring local breweries and wineries, including Sherwood Brewery, Rochester Mills Brewery, Brooks Brewing, Sabrosa Sangria and Unwind Winery,” Nicholson said.

There will be a selection of more than 150 wines to choose from in three different tents.

“We also have more than a dozen delicious food trucks, including Little Brothers Burgers, Fortune Cooking, Chicken Coupe Chicken & Waffles, Big Dipper Edible Cookie Dough and more! Plus, a couple of surprises that everyone will enjoy!” said Nicholson.

Proceeds from the beer and wine sales at the event will support the Humane Society of Macomb.

“The most significant benefactor from the Fork and Cork Festival is the Humane Society of Macomb. The organizers of the event, the Gazette Media Group, picked a very worthy cause to support,” Dionne said.

Live music will be playing on three stages throughout the weekend. Many musicians have returned for another year, such as Ben Charles, who plays keys in Big Sherb as well as Soul Priority.

“What stood out to me most about the Fork and Cork Festival was its level of organization and comfort. Although the festival is only in its second year, it feels like it’s been going on for 10. Offering three days of live music, food and drink all for free admission is the perfect recipe for a fun time. I think Andrew (Neal) and Gazette Media do a great job of booking a diverse range of  high-quality music from around the state. The audience was equally interested in hearing familiar cover songs as they were unique, original music. We’re stoked to be back again!” he said in an email.

New this year, the festival will have an activity that will involve a little bit of competition to win a prize.

“This year, we’ve added a cornhole tournament at noon on Sunday with a $200 cash prize! Teams can register at ForkAnd CorkFestival.com,” said Nicholson.

The tournament will take place rain or shine at noon Sept. 22 at the Utica Public Library. Entry costs $15 per two-person team for pre-registration. Day-of registration will cost $25 per two-person team.

Entry to the festival will be off Auburn Road, and parking will be available near the baseball field.

Admission to the festival is free. Memorial Park is located at 7550 Auburn Road.

“The festival was very successful last year, and they are looking to build upon it this year and for years to come. We’re inviting all of our neighboring friends to come see what Utica has to offer, and this is just one piece of it!” said Dionne.

For more information on the event, visit www.ForkAndCorkFestival.com.

Here’s the live music lineup:

• Nick Hoke
• Soul Priority
• Big Sherb
• Rick Matle Trio
• Black Tie Circus
• Laura Rain & The Caesars
• The Sun Messengers
• Paddlebots
• Jazz Kings Music
• Wag the Dog
• Tracy Kash
• Keynote Sisters
• Pleze Raybon
• Kenny Spear
• Sheila Landis
• Music Messengers
• Sunblocker
• The Steve Taylor Three
• Chris Cranick
• Emma Guzman
• Alex Mendenall