Hot music and tasty ribs

By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer
The music and ribs at Canal Winchester’s annual Blues and Ribfest will be hot as the community hosts the state’s only festival of its kind.

New and returning vendors and musicians from across the country turn High and Waterloo streets into an entertainment venue for the July 26-27 event with internationally recognized artists and award winning rib purveyors. The event takes place rain or shine from 5-11 p.m. Friday and noon to 11 p.m. on Saturday.

Two stages—the Stradley Stage and a main stage—fill the air with rocking electric blues and traditional acoustic performances starting at 5 p.m. on Friday and noon on Saturday when the festival opens.

The Stradley line-up on July 26 includes the Ben Bachert-Steve Perakis Duo, Bart Jenkins, and the Tom Carroll-Mike McGannon Duo. On July 27, Micah Kesselring, Alex Poteet, Steve Riggs, Luther Trammel and Jimmy Rogers appear on the stage.

At the Main Stage on Friday, The Jimmys, Ray Fuller and the Bluesrockers, and Nikki Hill featuring Laura Chavez will entertain festival goers from across the area. Taking the Main Stage on July 27 are 614 Blues Ed Youth Band, Noah Wotherspoon, Willie Phoenix, John Memeth, Toronzo Cannon and Indigenous.

“While we know that blues music appeals to young and old alike, we also offer a large food variety-everything from ribs and burgers to ice cream and snow cones,” said Destination:Canal Winchester Executive Director Karen Stiles. “We also have a large Kids’ Zone that includes inflatables, balloon art, face painting and pony rides.”

High Street will be closed from Columbus Street to Mound Street and Waterloo Street from Trine Street to Washington Street. Public parking will be open behind the Canal Winchester Municipal Building and off of Washington Street on Towing Path Alley. On/off street public parking is available in areas adjacent to the festival grounds.

Many area churches and organizations provide parking for a fee.

Handicap parking is available to those with handicap plates or placards on West Waterloo Street past Washington Street.

With more than 30,000 people expected to attend the two-day festival, public seating is limited and attendees are advised to bring their own portable chairs. No coolers or outside food are permitted and skateboards, rollerblades, bicycles, scooters, or any other recreational wheels are permitted on festival grounds. Please leave pets at home.

In addition to ribs from pitmasters including Big Pappy’s BBQ, Carolina Rib King, Cowboys Barbecue, Off the Bone and Ribbon Barbecue, festivalgoers have myriad other food and beverage options.

Food trucks and stands offer a variety of options such as Amish donuts, pizza, gyros, sweet corn, Bahama Mamas, cheese curds, giant cream puffs, Thai/Laos street food, specialty grilled cheese sandwiches, shaved ice and lemonade.

For the second year in a row, the downtown area is a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area which affords visitors the opportunity to purchase an adult beverage from any bar or restaurant within the DORA area and take it outside.

“This will be our 13th Blues and Ribfest and our event continues to grow each year in attendance,” said Stiles. “To be able to see the caliber artists that we have each year at a free venue is wonderful. We have something for everyone.”

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