Long live the Miche New Year


January 5 – Although event organizer Carlos Pena is known for hosting popular michelada festivals, he doesn’t really like the beer drink.

“Clamato juice isn’t my thing,” Pena said of one of the drink’s variations of beer, tomato and lime juice, and spices.

It was Pena’s mother who initially suggested focusing on the drink for an event in 2016, which was held at Amestoy’s and led to increasingly popular gatherings every year.

“The pleasure of micheladas took me by surprise. … What caught my attention were the variations. Everyone thought theirs was the best.”

For this year’s Miche New Year, which takes place on Saturday at Stramler Park, the focus is on celebration rather than competition.

“I wanted to have a good time,” he said. “Start the new year, start going out again and having a good time.”

Saturday’s rally will feature a mix of 20 businesses and restaurants serving samples of the drink to attendees. Participating vendors include Camino Real Kitchen & Tequila, Rock & Wings, Toasted, Jerry’s Pizza, La Mina Cantina, Bootleggers Craft Pub & Eatery and Champs BBQ restaurants as well as ProMix 559 from Visalia, G Mix Michelada and Howie’s Micheladas.

“Howie’s is one of the most popular (mixes) in town,” said Pena.

Food will be available from vendors Homies Tacos, The Teppanyaki Guys, and La Sancha, who will sell pozole, street corn, and baked potatoes.

Live entertainment will be provided throughout the afternoon courtesy of Velorio, Kali Sol, DJ Noe G and No Stringz Attached, who will pay homage to Michael Jackson.

A cornhole tournament will also be hosted by Making Others Better (MOB), which hosts Tuesday night cornhole matches at the Eagles in downtown Bakersfield.

(Registration is still open for teams of two for $ 85. Call Dan Felix at 661-717-3777 to register.)

In addition to hosting a fun event, Pena said he wanted to be able to help his community. He pledged to direct a portion of the proceeds (or donate from his own pocket) to the Kern County Autism Network.

As the father of two children living with autism, the nonprofit’s mission to educate the community about autism is close to his heart.

With a favorable forecast for Saturday, Pena expects a good turnout at the event.

“I love the smiles that I see, the good times that people can have,” he said of hosting events.

“The Micheladas are such a great time for people. Besides me, who doesn’t like them?

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter: @realstefanidias.

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