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Texans know a thing or two about having a good time and quite often that time revolves around meat, beer and music. Who can blame us? The trio just feels right. This weekend offers locals an opportunity to celebrate this timeless love affair at the inaugural Throwdown Texas Burger & Beer Fest coming to The Woodlands. On April 23, 11 local restaurants will compete for burger bragging rights and suds will be flowing, with everything set to a soundtrack of feel-good Texas country tunes.

Kristin Blanchard of event organizer Kickin’ Events & Promotions says the goal is to offer a different festival concept that still welcomes revelers of all ages—families included. Between 3,000 and 5,000 visitors are expected, so arrive early, bring picnic chairs and sunscreen, pull up a patch of grass and settle in for a full day of sizzling fun. Pre-sale tickets are $20 for adults and $50 for VIPs, with prices going up to $25 and $60 on event day. Rates for kids ages 3-13 are $5 and those 2 and under are free, both prior to and at the event. 

The event begins at 11 a.m. and runs until 10 p.m., with burger winners announced at 6 p.m. Judges, a panel of Houston media folk, will be given blind tastes of the entries—though all burgers must have a 100% beef composition, the rest is up to the respective chefs in terms of how to wow the judges within the 30-minute time limit.

Awards will be given for peoples' choice (text vote prior to Saturday), best presentation, most creative and best overall burger. Besides burgers, available concessions will include beer-battered corn dogs, vegetarian kebabs, RC’s Pizza, deep-fried Oreos and Marble Slab Ice Cream. Those seeking heavier fare have options including Kirby’s Steakhouse, Ruggles Green and the Burger Joint food truck. Brave souls are encouraged to enter the Scorpion Challenge from Hot Line Pepper Products (HLPP), during which they will consume a burger laced with the brand's Scorching Scorpion hot sauce made with scorpion peppers. The winner will take home a case of HLPP pepper products and an exclusive trophy created by Stessel. The competition starts at 1 p.m., so prime those taste buds for glory and/or pain, depending on your tolerance. Register on the HLPP Facebook page, festival Facebook page, or on site at the festival.

Washing down all that food will be easy thanks to a craft beer garden serving 8th Wonder, Karbach, Spindle Top and St. Arnold in addition to a portable Budweiser setup complete with a rooftop view of the festival and flat screens tuned to sports channels. Feel like skipping the booze? Kroger is donating 8,000 bottles of water for attendees to enjoy free of charge. Guests are encouraged to grab a cold one or two and soak in the sounds of music artists such as folk singer Amy Goloby, J.J. Essen, Doug Kent and the Will Carter Band. Jason Cassidy and Josh Wharton will headline the event and keep the crowd energized all evening long. 

Sometimes beer-centric celebrations push out the younger crowd, but this one will feature a Kids Zone with activities like a rock climbing wall, inflatable battle balls and face painting from opening until 6 p.m., making the later hours more conducive to adult-minded partying (families are still welcome, though the atmosphere may transform a bit).  

One of the special aspects of this festival is the impact it will have on those who aren’t able to enjoy the festivities in person. A portion of proceeds from the event will be donated to the Montgomery County Food Bank to aid in providing meals to those needing a helping hand.  Avalon Insurance of The Woodlands is sponsoring a dunking booth whose revenue will go straight to the food bank. Guests can pay $20 for four throws at a chance of dropping township members, Montgomery Country Commissioner James Noack, and The Woodlands Area Chamber CEO and President JJ Hollie into a watery tank with no risk of retaliation.

The Woodlands is the first of five planned locations for the festival so look for a future presence in Houston, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio.

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