By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jul 17, 2023 at 4:57 PM

Festival City is hopping this summer! OnMilwaukee's Festival Guide is brought to you by Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. Escape the heat and step inside! 

Ray’s Wine & Spirits and Central Waters Brewing Co. team up again for the fifth annual RAY-borhood Barbecue Bash in the liquor store's Tosa parking lot on Sunday, Aug. 6.

The free, family-friendly festival takes place at 8930 W. North Ave. from noon to 6 p.m., and will have a number of food trucks on site, including Flour Girl & Flame, Sweet Smoke BBQ, K&L’s BBQ and Trouble Maker’s Cocina.

Of course, there will be beer ... lots of beer, especially as Central Waters celebrates 25 years of brewing up in Amherst and more recently in Milwaukee, too.

The bash will have 20 – count 'em, 20! – rotating taps with brews from both facilities, including some rarities.

A tiki hut will also offer barrel-aged tiki-themed Central Waters beers and boozy slushies.

“We feel very honored to be able to share this beer with folks,” says Ray's owner Orey Laev.

Kelly's Greens CBD Bakery will be on hand as with Tosa's own Highlands Honey, which will sell honey and have a live beehive exhibit. (At least year's event, young beekeeper Miles ran over to present me with a small jar of the the delectable Tosa-made nectar!)

Rachal Duggan of RAD Illustrates – a “booty portrait” artist – will be there, as will Rush-Mor Records DJs providing the musical entertainment.

The party – which started out as a kick-off for the annual Great Taste of the Midwest beer festival in Madison – has been held annually since 2018, with a pandemic pause, of course.

“To be able to do something in Milwaukee as an homage – a tip of the cap – to the Madison festival, has been special,” says Laev.

“Working with our friends, Central Waters, who are a huge player in the Wisconsin craft beer scene and combining it with our love and passion for food – barbecue, specifically – makes it even better.”

The parking lot will have tented seating so that the bash may proceed rain or shine!

“We are very excited to partner with Ray’s yet again to host a great Sunday BBQ and beer event,” says Central Waters’ owner Anello Mollica.

“Over the years, we have grown to call these folks our friends, and we can’t wait to share with everyone the wide range of beers we have in store.”

It's always a festival, fun-loving atmosphere with lots of families around. Plus you can pop into Ray's and take some beer home!

All the while you'll be supporting local, independent businesses.

“We've been here for 60 years, and we all just work hand-in-hand," says Laev, of his fellow indie businesspeeps. "We like to get everyone together for a good time.”

More information is available at

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.