Tips for Parenting from a Beer Festival

I hate Father’s Day. And Mother’s Day. In fact, I hate any recognition holiday that celebrates traditional family structures.

father's day

When you are born, you have a 50/50 chance of having at least one decent parent. My younger sister and I struck out completely. We got crap for parents, on both sides. Our dad peaced out when I was just five years old, put in a brief reappearance when I was 14, and that was about it.

Oh, there was also a brief blip on the radar when he asked my mom to settle on his child support debt so he could get it taken off his record. Seems he wanted to buy one of his other children a house or something, and that whole pesky state-ordered debt to provide a pittance to help raise your children was getting in the way of him being a good parent to one of his later kids. I wasn’t privy to those negotiations, so I don’t really count that as contact with my father.


But my sister and I are not unique in this regard. There are lots of bad parents out there.  In fact, I saw a lot of questionable parenting yesterday at the Beer, Bourbon and BBQ festival.

festival signage

The Beer, Bourbon and BBQ festival is pretty self-explanatory. They have a bunch of tents, you get a little glass and you go around and get tastings of beer and bourbon. We tend to focus on the drinking, and not so much on the BBQ, which unfortunately, isn’t handed out. You have to pay for it. But you can’t really beat our BBQ anyway, so no loss there.

The festival used to be held way out in Maryland, but a few years back, it moved to National Harbor, which is still in Maryland, but just across the river from Virginia. (I know, northeastern geography is quite mysterious to me as well.) We went to that festival that first year, and it was a really small affair. Not very busy at all. But it has definitely grown over the past couple of years.


It was pretty packed yesterday, but still was a really good time. There must’ve 100 different beers. Our favorites were from the Kona Brewing Company. They had three beers, their Longboard, Wailua Wheat and my favorite, Koko Brown, which had a slight tinge of coconut. I think I “tasted” that beer probably four times.

inside a tent

The day was pretty perfect: It was bright and sunny, the beers and bourbons were flowing, and the redneck music was hopping. There were lots of girls in skimpy shorts, and lecherous men oogling them.  And tons of fuzzy Viking horn hats, which made no sense in the heat.

me and the chicks

But back to the parenting: We saw quite a few people, mostly men, carrying an interesting festival accessory –babies in those front carrier things.

Like this dude on the right. I didn’t take this and this actually wasn’t from yesterday’s event, but that’s the size of the tasting glasses and the happy-dad-carrying-baby motif was common.

Now, why would you bring a baby to a drinking festival? And, if you are going to bring a baby, shouldn’t you put that kid to work? Maybe get an extra tasting glass since there are two of you. Or maybe put one of those beer can hats on the kid’s head and you can go hands free.

Baby's first beer festival

I can’t imagine how many of those kids are going to be traumatized by the full roasted pigs on display. And the questionable adult behaviors going on.

roasted pig

All I know is after about 40 minutes at the festival, I had a nice warm buzz going and I would definitely not have wanted to be in charge of remembering that there was a mini-person attached to my rapidly sunburning chest.

Hell, I couldn’t even be responsible for putting on my own sunscreen.