Dark Horse’s Annual 4 Elf Party 2018

This year’s 4 Elf Party got off to a curious start which led to new friendships, discoveries about old friends and the launch of the holiday season. 

4 Elf Party

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Before I jump into the curious event, I want to thank the Dark Horse crew for the event. It is a combination of customer appreciation party and specialty beer sale. As always there was great beer, interesting food, many elves, and of course EXCELLENT music. 

Curious Event

When Angie called Go Dad, Marshall’s taxi service, she learned, Go Dad was in the hospital. He explained he had a driver for his van but the driver needed a ride to the van. Since the van was close to where we were at the moment, he asked if she’d drive the van to the driver. We do not know Go Dad, so we found this very curious. 

We agreed to help him. As we’re walking to the van, a group of elves flagged us down wanting to know if we were headed to Dark Horse. They’d just called Go Dad and he said to find us in the parking lot. I know right? Only in a small town. Long story short, we put gas in the van, picked up the driver, and dropped a load of elves off at Dark Horse. Plus we made some new friends. Aren’t they just the cutest! 

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North Country Trail

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Did you know the North Country Trail is inches away from Dark Horse? I had no idea. It was one of our first discoveries during this year’s 4 Elf Party. We found a post inviting us to a guided hike hosted by the Chief Noonday Chapter on the Facebook Event page for the party. 

The hike started in front of Dark Horse before it hooked up with the Marshall Riverwalk.

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Public Service Announcement: The North Country National Scenic Trail is one of the Nation’s premier hiking and backpacking trails, extending 4,600 miles through New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota. The North Country Trail is administered by the National Park Service and the North Country Trail Association (NCTA). They are looking for volunteers. If you are interested please email cnd@northcountrytrail.org.  

Draft List

The draft list for the 4 Elf Party included 30 beers which ranged from Crooked Tree to Scarier Jesus Rock Star to the Birdwatcher to the #vinylvinylSunday Donut Coffee Stout and everything in between. 

We volunteered to pour which is always an adventure. This year for some reason people asked for beer using just a single adjective. They’d say, I’ll have the apricot beer or I’ll have the coconut beer or the blueberry beer or the fruit beer. Kudos to the staff who pour beer every day. We scrambled to find the right beer and keep the good times flowing. The Dark Horse family is extensive and we are happy to be a part of it.

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Dancing

Jay Green can dance, a discovery about an old friend. Let me clarify; he is not old, he’s just been a friend a long time! We always love seeing Jay and Andrea.

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Chicken on a Box

Yeah, I know it has another name. This crowing little buddy made for many laughs.

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Favorite Elves 

It was hard to pick my favorite elves! 

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4 Elf Party – The Music!

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Sure, it is fun to drink special edition beers and hang out with our friends from Dark Horse at the 4 Elf party, but the real festivities are when the music gets started. This year’s offerings were a little later in the evening than prior years, yet stellar all the same. To ensure maximum booty shaking, there were two groovy bands infused with fun and funk and an ass-kicking country band sandwiched in between.

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Liquid Thickness

Shimmering horns, tasty beats, groovy riffs, and vocals so full of soul you thought you are in heaven. This was the musical bliss upon hearing Liquid Thickness for the first time. The crazy thing is I drove an hour from home to see a band from right next door in Ypsilanti.

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It was a tight squeeze on stage and I’m sure the trombone player was sure he was going to clock me in the head as I pressed up close to feel the music (and snag a few pics). These guys had people dancing and the high octane Dark Horse beers meant we were all ready to get funky. Their original jams are packed with grooves and I really dug the covers of Fleetwood Mac and David Bowie. Get down with Liquid Thickness the next time you see them in your neighborhood. They are delicious with a Hands, Feet, and Mangoes beer.

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The Bootstrap Boys

Putting everyone in the spirit of kicking up our heels and having a good old time were The Bootstrap Boys. These guys played country music as it should be. Meaning, real country music and not the redneck pop music that some folks call “country”. The Bootstrap Boys make their own brand of country with deep roots from the masters such as Johnny Cash, Porter Wagoner, Waylon Jennings, George Jones, and of course Hank Williams.

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The 4 Elf party tent was a little chilly, but the Bootstrap Boys were heated up and cranking. There was literally steam rising from the lead singer’s head. They played a burning cover of Jerry Reeds “East Bound and Down” replete with a humming rhythm and some damn fine picking. The Bootstrap Boys gave us a taste of their original finger-licking good songs “Diamond Joe”, “Poverty Line”, and “Bootstrap Anthem”. Each of these great songs was especially tasty when paired up with a #vinylvinylSunday Donut Coffee Stout. Get over to the Bootstrap Boys bandcamp site and buy all their music now.

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Chirp

To put a big sweet and groovy cherry on top of this festive 4 Elf party was the band Chirp from Ann Arbor. They rocked, grooved, swung, and jammed with such enthusiasm that you couldn’t help but feel excited. I’ll admit, I went down the rabbit hole a bit thinking about their name. First off, the image of a happy little bird chirping away and always singing a song. If you scratch the top of Wikipedia you find chirps by hip-hop DJs and this gem: “A chirp is a signal in which the frequency increases (up-chirp) or decreases (down-chirp) with time.”. Either way, you play with the name Chirp, you come back to the music they make which is lively and buzzing with frequencies all over the map.

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Chirp played a mix of original and covers with a smile and conviction. Each song allowed Chirp to display some superfly chops during some extended jams. Their boogie stew was super fine when you combined with a Smells Like A Safety Meeting IPA. Chirp is out on a winter wonderland tour which takes them down to Kentucky, around Ohio, and across Michigan. When they head your way, stop by and check them out!

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Memory Lane

I took a stroll down memory lane and reviewed the last six years of 4 Elf parties. It was kinda fun seeing all the changes at Dark Horse and friends we’ve made. 

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