Child Protect, Children’s Advocacy Center’s signature fundraiser, Barrel of Blues 2022 was held on Wednesday, April 20, 2022. The event was held at the beautiful 1616 House owned by Christina and Spencer Cadden and located on South Perry Street  in Montgomery.  


The immensely talented Aaron Ganey transformed the Grounds of The 1616 House and the interior rooms of the home into an Enchanted, Organic, Southern Tranquility that guests were mesmerized while strolling through the yard, tent and ground floors of the home. Elements that were incorporated into the decor on mantles and on tabletops were Palmettos, Dried Mushrooms, Sword Fern, Thistle, Wheat, Pampas Plumes, Larkspur, Bunny Tail, Bells of Ireland, Smilax and lit candles all in keeping with the highlighting of Grains together with the different varieties of the Bourbons and Whiskey. The beautifully lit center ceiling of the tent just above the Bourbon tasting tables was a gorgeous array of greenery and woven fixtures lit in evening tones. The cool air and breeze of this wonderful Spring evening and the Spanish Moss blowing gently through the large oak trees completed the feeling inspired by Aaron Ganey for the evening.


Guests were greeted as they entered the grounds to The 1616 House and were served a Pomegranate Vodka Smash specialty cocktails and enjoyed passed Hors d’oeuvres of Bourbon Brie & Prosciutto Tarts with Fig Jam and Spinach & Asiago stuffed Artichoke Bottoms prepared by Jennie Weller Catering. And, special thanks to the Republic National Distributing Company and Tito’s Handmade Vodka for the gracious donation of vodka for the evening specialty cocktails. Child Protect’s Jr. Executive Board members welcomed guests and presented them with their Bourbon tasting glass and “Swag Bag” for the evening. Child Protect Jr. Executive Board President, Katie Richard handled the coordination of all the Jr. Board members volunteer duties for the evening.  “It was such a delight to welcome everyone to Child Protect’s signature fundraiser and have our donors enjoy a magnificent night of Bourbon and Blues, all while supporting our incredible Children’s Advocacy Center,” stated Loree Aronov, Child Protect, Development Director. 


Barrel of Blues 2022 was a huge success with over 250 people in attendance and over $45,000 raised for Child Protect, Children’s Advocacy Center! 

Guests were treated to a delectable menu and was sponsored by Servis 1st Bank, which consisted of the following from Jennie Weller Catering: An Artisan Cheese Display of pickled Okra, Marinated Baby Corn, Midget Pickles, Artisan Cheeses and assorted Fruits and Crackers under the tent near the Bourbon Tasting Stations. Inside The 1616 House in the Ballroom guests enjoyed a Hanging Bacon Bar with slices of Bourbon Bacon, Almond stuffed Dates wrapped in Bacon and Jalapeño Poppers wrapped in Bourbon Bacon.  Also, in the Ballroom were Mini Smoky Bourbon BBQ Chicken Sliders with pulled pork, Cornbread Muffins with a smoky Bourbon BBQ aioli and secured with a midget pickle on top! The Bourbon Glazed Pork Tenderloin Sliders on an Onion Bun with caramelized onions and Horsey Mayo were divine, as well. Another special feature for the night was the Shrimp & Grits Station with Hickory Grove Stone Ground Grits and toppings of Applewood Smoked Bacon, Shredded Gouda Cheese and Crispy Onions. 


As an added feature and highlight of the evening guests enjoyed an Oyster Bar under the tent served from an Antique Footed Tub! Oysters were shucked onsite and served with crackers, Leon Wedges, assorted Hot sauces, Cocktail Sauce and the newest addition to the Jennie Weller Catering menu a Roving Oyster Shucker and Shot! And, to end the delicious meal, Fabulous Desserts of Sweet Bourbon Blueberry Cobbler, Peanut Butter Whiskey Balls and Mini Bourbon Chocolate Cupcakes were served. 


Child Protect’s Special Guest for the evening was L.C. May, Grandson of the famous Clyde May of Clyde May’s Bourbons. L.C. May was so gracious to partner with Child Protect’s Barrel of Blues 2022 event and to share his wealth of knowledge of Bourbon and Whiskey, and to bring such incredibly special varieties of his Clyde May’s brand to the tasting. Child Protect looks forward to a long relationship with L.C. May and his Clyde Mays bourbons for many events to come! 


The RNDC, Republic National Distributing Company, was also on hand highlighting their specialty Bourbons and Whiskey’s. Combined there were over twenty different varieties of Bourbon and Whiskey that were  displayed and sampled during the Barrel of Blues 2022 Tasting that evening. Both Jonathan Bleiberg, RNDC, Vice President Control States for Alabama and Mississippi; and Julius Pittman, RNDC Control State Division Manager for Alabama were on site providing all of the wonderful details and descriptions of the Bourbons and Whiskey they brought for the tasting.  


Barrel of Blues 2022 also hosted a Coffee Bar provided by Hilltop Public House and owner, Andrew Szymanski promoted his delicious cocktail coffees on site. 

And, Sanctuary Cigars offered a Cigar Lounge, complete with leather sofas and chairs out on the lawn of  The 1616 House for guests to enjoy located outside the Bourbon Tasting tent. 


Child Protect, Executive Director, Kristin Byrd stated, “Barrel of Blues 2022 was everything I had hoped it would be and more! Barrel of Blues exceeded our expectations this year and we are so grateful for our community supporting the important work we do at Child Protect.”


Mac Arnold and A Plate Full of Blues was the live entertainment for the evening and how special for Montgomery to be able to host such entertainment with such a colorful music history. Mac Arnold played with the “Muddy Waters” group; played with James Brown on piano; and Mac was back-up for The Temptations and was on the set of Soul Train for many years. Mac’s favorite story is telling how he learned to play guitar from his big brother, Leroy at the age of 10 years old on an old gasoline can that they made into a guitar. Mac still today plays on Gasoline Can Guitars! 


Mac Arnold shared his stories and talents with Vaughn Road Elementary Kindergarteners earlier in the afternoon of April 20th before the Barrel of Blues event, once he arrived in town. The children and teachers alike loved hearing him sing and enjoyed every minute of his visit. “Giving back to children in the areas we visit and bringing music back into the public school system is what I enjoy doing the most,” stated Mac Arnold.


Rare Items donated by Clyde May’s, RNDC, Sanctuary Cigars, ASF, Artist Emily Ernest and Stonehenge Framing were given away at the end of the night. ASF’s package for a special evening for four with pre-dinner cocktails, a show and tour of backstage was awarded to Mark Snead. Artist Emily Ernest’s contemporary oil painting entitled “Single Barrel Melody,” framed exquisitely by Stonehenge Framing, was awarded to Christie Kyser. The Fabulous Bourbon package donated by RNDC was awarded to Lynn Bius; The Mystery Box that even included a bottle of L.C. May’s own personal reserve bottle of rare Clyde May’s Bourbon, that is not in production anymore, was awarded to Mikala McClurry; and lastly and the most anticipated item, the OFC $30k Crystal bottle of Bourbon was awarded to George McLaurine! And, special thanks to Brian Guilbeau, Director of Product Management at the State of Alabama ABC Board and H. Mac Gipson, Administrator for Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board for their knowledge and assistance in planning Barrel of Blues 2022.

Child Protect is so thankful for the many sponsors and partners that helped create such an incredible event for the city of Montgomery. Signature sponsors for Barrel of Blues 2022 were Servis 1st Bank, Hyundai and Clyde May’s. A heartfelt thanks to the other Barrel of Blues sponsors and partners: The 1616 House, Kwik Kopy, WSFA, AUM, Hilltop Public House, Sanctuary Cigars, Artist, Emily Ernest, Stonehenge Framing and ASF. And, special thanks to Hagood Photography for capturing the memories of the evening.


Mark your calendars for Barrel of Blues 2023 scheduled for April 19, 2023!