By Linda Dillman
After a two-year hiatus, the Canal Winchester Blues and Ribfest is back!
Downtown will be alive with the sounds of 17 live free musical performances on two stages and the beckoning smell of award-winning barbecue July 29-30 on High Street in the heart of the city.
“As always, we have an incredible line-up,” said Destination:Canal Winchester Executive Director Karen Stiles. “The 2022 Main Stage includes three national acts on Friday and five national acts on Saturday. Headliner Davy Knowles’ music has a wonderful Celtic note to it even though he is described as a blues-rock artist. We are looking forward to the return of many of our favorites such as Joanna Connor, Ray Fuller and Syla Burrell. We are also excited to hear the sounds of Mike Zito and Annika Chambers. Both of these musicians recently won multiple awards at the 2022 Blues Music Awards in Memphis.”
According to Stiles, many familiar rib purveyors are returning this year, such as Donna Rice from Desperadoes, who was awarded first place several years in a row. Attending rib vendors submit a five samples of their ribs for the competition and a team of five judges rate each team’s samples on flavor, presentation and texture.
In addition to racks of ribs roasting on open fires, the festival also offers a variety of food trucks such as Amish Donuts, Schmidt’s Sausage, Lemon King and Medallen’s Gyros as well as vendors new to the Blues and Ribfest.
“We always have a wonderful variety of non-rib food vendors,” said Stiles. “This event is fun for the entire family. We have our Kids’ Zone open until 8 p.m. each night. This area includes, face painting, inflatables, pony rides, balloon twisting and games.”
A covered dining area adjacent to the main stage is available. Festival goers may bring food inside a fan-cooled Beer Garden and the Stradley Stage is surrounded by covered picnic tables.
“We are expecting a huge turnout for this year’s event,” said Stiles. “People are very excited to see the Canal Winchester Blues and Ribfest return after being canceled for two years due to COVID, though we always have a huge crowd. We draw people from all over Ohio and surrounding states, but we have, in past years, met people who have come from Texas, California, New York, and Canada to attend our event. We typically have between 35,000 to 37,000 people during our day and half event. We love the opportunity to share our community with those who have never visited Canal Winchester. Our city is a wonderful place to live and to visit.”
There are several public parking locations throughout historical downtown and on-street parking is also available. High Street will be closed from Columbus Street to Mound Street.
For information and a detailed lineup of performers visit www.blueandribfest.com.