On Saturday, April 28, 3 p.m., The Thirsty Whale will host the first Battle of the Bartenders, with proceeds benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Wisconsin.
"Being this is our first year, our goal is to raise one wish," Deanne Kidd, co-owner of The Thirsty Whale, said.
In order to achieve this goal, the Battle of the Bartenders must raise $5,000 for a local wish to be granted.
Judging the event will be the owners of Moore Oil Company and Ace Hardware, who are major sponsors of the battle and the cause.
Moore Oil Company wanted to get involved with a local fundraiser to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which is where the Battle of the Bartenders idea originated.
"Different bartenders are always smarting off, saying 'I'm the best, I'm the best,' and I thought it would be fun to have a bartending contest, and then have the proceeds go to Make-A-Wish," Kidd said.
The event is open to anyone in the community who knows how to make a drink - you do not have to be employed as a bartender.
"Anyone who has knowledge of drinks can do it. It's just a minimum of a $100 pledge," Kidd said. "Every bar would like to claim the fame of having the best bartender in the area, so encourage your bartenders to come and join, and donate to Make-A-Wish."
With the only requirement of having at least $100 in pledges, a two-person team works together, making drinks and then going out into the crowd to sell them. They will be judged on their appearance, drink presentation, and the speed at which the drinks are made.
Creativity plays an element in the competition, as well.
"If somebody has any bartender tricks or a good bartender joke up their sleeve, that might help their score," Kidd said.
There are a few ways a team can win the competition. First, by being the best bartenders. First place in the competition will win $250; second, $125; and third, $75.
However, that is pocket change compared to what could be won by raising the most pledges. Whichever team raises the most money in the form of pledges will take home $1,000.
"When they make their round of drinks, they get to go out into the crowd and sell them. Any of that money from selling the drinks go toward their pledges, too," Kidd said.
Following the competition, entertainment will continue with a performance from Tuck Pence.
To register as a team or for more information, call The Thirsty Whale at 715-356-7108.
"I'd like this to be a yearly thing, I think that would be great. I like to do functions and fundraisers in the community that go back to charities," Kidd said. "It's about being a part of the community and giving back."
Sarah Hirsch may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org