The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's Festiv-Ale: A Celebration of Beer fund-raiser features unlimited tastings of beer from Flossmoor Station, Two Brothers, Flatlanders, Goose Island, Trumer Pils, and others; there'll also be "heavy appetizers." 7-10 PM, Goose Island Brewpub, 3535 N. Clark, 312-236-4491, $50, $75 VIP reception.
The much-touted first Chicago Gourmet kicks off tonight with a gala reception from 6:30 to 10 PM on the Harris Theater rooftop. The "Grand Tastings" main event at Pritzker Pavilion takes place from 11 AM to 6 PM Saturday and 11:15 AM to 5 PM Sunday, offering food and wine tastings as well as cooking demos by chefs including Carrie Nahabedian, Mindy Segal, Kendal Duque, and Gale Gand. There are also food and wine seminars and "Grand Cru" wine tastings both days, plus the Whole Foods Village for families (tickets are sold separately for all these events). Tickets to the main event are $150/day, $250/weekend; the opening night gala is $250; seminars range from $30-$90, Grand Cru wine tastings are $175, and the Whole Foods Family Village is $30 for adults, free for kids under 12.
Kilbourn Park Organic Greenhouse begins its seven-week series of classes on fall organic vegetable gardens, which will cover using sustainable farming practices to grow food in urban spaces, strategies for lengthening the growing season, and activities for the fall garden. 10 AM-noon, Saturdays 9/27-11/15 (no class 11/8), 6601 N. Western, 773-626-6078, $20 per class or $100 for all seven weeks.
The first Rib-a-Que Smokeout at Moonshine features a rib cook-off among about 12 vendors, including Socca, Smoke Daddy, the Fifty/50, and Sheffield’s. Former Top Chef contestants Stephanie Izard and Dale Levitski are among the judges; attendees can also vote on their favorites. There’ll be specials on Jack Daniel’s cocktails and beer from Moonshine’s new on-site brewery, plus live music by Devil in a Woodpile and Javelinas. Noon-6 PM, 1824 W. Division, 773-862-8686, chicago.going.com/moonshine, $35, $25 in advance.
Murphy’s Bleachers hosts an Oktoberfest Pig Roast that also features grilled chicken, vegetables, and brats; wine, vodka punch, soft drinks, and Oktoberfest beer are included in the ticket price. A silent auction will benefit local charities, schools, and community-improvement projects, with Oprah tickets and rooftop Cubs seats among the items on the block. 3-7 PM, 3655 N. Sheffield, 773-281-1222, $25.
Mado hosts a five-course, family-style dinner featuring produce from Nichols Farm; the menu hasn't yet been set because it'll depend on what vegetables are best. 6 PM, 1647 N. Milwaukee, 773-342-2340, $50 plus tax/tip.
Chicago’s Downtown Farmstand opens with a celebration from 11 AM to 1 PM featuring food samples, cooking demos, and giveaways. The farm stand—a pilot program sponsored by the Department of Cultural Affairs—will sell food produced within 250 miles of Chicago, including fruits, vegetables, condiments, preserves, baked goods, and dry goods; it’ll also offer classes and lunchtime demos on Wednesdays and Fridays. Tue-Fri 11 AM-7 PM, Sat 11 AM-4 PM, through mid-December, 66 E. Randolph, 312-744-2400, chicagofarmstand.com (site launches 10/1).