Bloody Mary contest judges, from left, Eric Braun, Sarah Warren and Carrie Beckendorf sample entries in 2016. This year, the contest is being expanded to include all cocktails.
Bloody Mary contest judges, from left, Eric Braun, Sarah Warren and Carrie Beckendorf sample entries in 2016. This year, the contest is being expanded to include all cocktails.

Cocktails are much more than bloody Marys. 

That’s why the Ag Days Committee decided to change the previous bloody Mary contest to a general cocktail contest at the South Park Sunday, Aug. 20, starting at 1 p.m.   The committee members decided to open it up to any kind of cocktail “to try to get more people interested, because not everybody likes bloody Marys,” explained Carrie Beckendorf, organizer of this year’s Ag Days cocktail contest.

The “Best Cocktails of Spring Valley Contest,” sponsored by TJ’s Liquor, will be a meeting of home bartenders that’s not to be missed.

“People can make anything at all.  They have to bring their own tools, glasses, cutting boards, liquor and garnishes, and they’ll prepare their cocktails onsite,” said Beckendorf.  “It’s free to everyone over 21 —we’ll be checking IDs — and they just have to show up and prepare their cocktail drinks.”

The contest starts at 1 p.m. and participants have an hour to prepare their drinks.  People from the community will be judging the drinks at 2 p.m. and the winners will be announced shortly at or after 2:30 p.m. with prizes for first, second and third place. Judging is based on taste, creativity and presentation among other factors.

It’s free so all people have to do is show up.  There will be registration slips at the contest so people don’t have to worry about registering beforehand.

“I think we’re just looking forward to more people being there and all their creativity, all the fun drinks people make,” said Beckendorf.  “It’s just something different, and people might not know about the cocktails you’re good at, and it’s a chance for getting to know people.”   

For procrastinators, TJ’s Liquor and many other stores in Minnesota are now open Sundays due to a recent change in Minnesota state law. The cocktail contest at South Park will be held in the north pavilion.  For more information, contact Beckendorf at 507-251-5403.