Blues and ribs will be the theme for the day during the Canal Winchester Blues & Ribfest.

Blues and ribs will be the theme for the day during the Canal Winchester Blues & Ribfest.

The transplanted and renamed festival will be hosted by Main Street Canal Winchester from 5 to 11 p.m. Aug. 6 and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Aug. 7.

The event will be held on High Street between Waterloo and Columbus streets. High Street will be closed to traffic between these points, but the intersections will remain open. The festival will also flow into Stradley Place and the area directly behind it.

Previously held in Pickerington, the festival was moved to Canal Winchester this year. Main Street Canal Winchester director Bruce Jarvis said he was approached by organizers of what was the Pickerington Jazz, Blues & Ribfest about hosting the event in Canal Winchester. It had been held in Pickerington the last 12 years.

"They had outgrown the downtown location they were using and were in need of bigger space," Jarvis said.

He said Pickerington organizers were looking at moving the event to Victory Park in that city but had difficulty getting permission to sell alcohol there.

"The organizer felt it would be difficult to have a blues and ribfest without that kind of feature," he said.

Unable to find suitable space in Pickerington organizers approached Canal Winchester, he said, where Main Street Canal Winchester has had seven months to plan its first appearance in the village.

"There was definitely room for another major festival," he said, noting that the other big community events in Canal Winchester are the Labor Day Festival, the farmers market and Christmas in the Village.

The Canal Winchester Blues & Ribfest will include a variety of non-rib food options, children's activities and a beer garden, Jarvis said. Two stages will be the venues for blues music from 17 acts during the festival.

Jarvis said organizers have made several changes as part of switching the festival to Canal Winchester, including dropping the jazz and focusing on blues music. Children's activities have also been expanded and will include a bounce house, face-painter and balloon artist.

"This is a kind of test drive in a lot of ways for having it in this location," Jarvis said. "We also expect next year, the village will allow us to be in the same space used for the Labor Day festival."

Moving the festival to Waterloo Street will allow Main Street Canal Winchester to add a business expo and other fundraising activities, Jarvis said.

In addition to ribs, visitors will be able to find a variety of food including bratwurst and sausages and fair food such as funnel cakes and french fries, Jarvis said.

Main Street Canal Winchester had hoped to work with the Columbus Blues Alliance for this year's festival, but wasn't able to make that happen. Jarvis said organizers hope the CBA can still be a part of the festival.

This year's blues acts come from mostly central and southern Ohio, he said. Saturday's closing act, Ray Fuller & the Bluesrockers, has been performing in Columbus since the 1980s, Jarvis said.

He said he visited the Gahanna Blues and Jazz festival to get a closer look at the act before booking it.

"I was very impressed with what I heard," Jarvis said. 'We also have some very well-known names in blues circles on the solo and duo stage. We had an emphasis on quality for the entertainment on these stages."

Jarvis thanked the village of Canal Winchester for its help in pulling the festival together. He said the village was a huge partner in pulling the festival together.

"It is a great opportunity for us to have an established event just handed to us and bring people to our community," said Canal Winchester community affairs director Carrie Hoover. "In general, I think this event is a good fit for our community."