Battle Creek is adding another quirky food festival to a growing list: The Big Cheese. 

“Who doesn’t like mac and cheese?” Kelly Walden, sales and marketing manager for Kellogg Arena, asked rhetorically. 

The Big Cheese will be 3 to 7 p.m. April 15 at Kellogg Arena

This family friendly festival goes beyond the blue noodle box. There will be 15 vendors, and each can make up to three different flavors of macaroni and cheese. 

There will be classic, homestyle macaroni and cheese for those who want the old-fashioned variety. The second category will be macaroni loaded with sausage or pulled pork or jerk chicken. 

“The last category is extreme mac and cheese,” Kelly says, “so that’s anything goes.” 

Think seafood or jalapeño and bacon or buffalo sauce. 

For a festival that’s all about one food, there is a lot of variety. Two of the vendors will be plant-based, for the vegans. Expectations are high for Serious Dogs, with its big hit gouda macaroni and cheese. Sunrise Cafe, a favorite hangout for locals, has white cheddar with brisket burnt ends, diced tomatoes and Parmesan. 

Or travel around the world: Territorial Brewing Co. is bringing a German menu, Island Style BBQ celebrates its Caribbean roots, and Bombas has its Mexican-influenced barbecue flavors. 

It’s more macaroni and cheese than one person can eat. Fortunately, servings will be in smaller portions so you can try multiple vendors. 

And the more you try, the better informed your vote for best mac and cheese will be. QR codes will be posted throughout the arena. 

“All you have to do is scan it on your phone and pick your favorite,” Kelly says. 

Admission costs $5 for ages 13 and older, while kids get in free. Each portion costs $3-$7. 

Start planning your eating strategy now with the help of menus on the Big Cheese website

There will also be MOO-ville ice cream and a special treat for the grown-ups: wine and cheese pairings. 

This festival is brought to you by the same people who organize Que the Creek, a February barbecue festival. 

Kelly says the goal is to have a big event when winter slows people down. Kellogg Arena is able to provide an indoor festival space that’s safe from the fickle weather. 

But she hopes visitors don’t just keep to the arena. 

“Once you park, you can walk to all these different areas and restaurants,” she says. “And that’s what we wanted to show, the Battle Creek businesses and what they have to offer.” 

Check out these two other events happening downtown on April 15: 

  • The Jordan Hamilton Trio is performing at First Congregational church at 6 p.m. Jordan Hamilton is a cellist and songwriter who “merges loop pedals, samplers and insightful lyricism alongside classical instrumentation to form an elevated, balanced hip hop sound.” Tickets are $5. 
  • The Que Calor art show will be from 8 to 10 p.m. at Cafe Rica. Meet featured artists in the industry alongside local artists who are breaking into the scene. Tickets are $10 preshow
  • You can buy a combined ticket for both the concert and the art event for $13