The Canal Winchester Times

Blues and Ribfest

Organizers change layout to allow for event growth

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Canal Winchester's Blues and Ribfest is still two months away but already organizers are preparing for it to be the biggest one yet in its four-year history in the city.

The festival will take place Aug. 2 and 3 in downtown Canal Winchester. Billed as "Ohio's only all-blues and rib-themed festival," the event drew an estimated 30,000 visitors last year and plans are being put in place to possibly top that number this year.

"We've had some difficulty bringing a portion of the festival anywhere other than down south High Street and we'd like to grow, so we're making some layout changes this year; but we've had a lot of people to get approvals from," organizer Bruce Jarvis said.

"Last year, we tried bringing some of the vendors and people up West Waterloo, but because there was so much congestion in the middle of town, people couldn't get through, so we want to change that."

According to Jarvis, this year's festival layout will work to alleviate that congestion, generally caused by the location of the main stage at the intersection of Waterloo and High streets.

"We'll take the main stage to West Waterloo and back just a bit so we can locate some vendors down that way as well," he said. "Then we'll move the beer garden over to Bolenbaugh Hardware's parking lot on East Waterloo Street.

"The dining tent will move to North High Street, but still relatively close to the main stage, with the rib vendors still up and down South High Street and the other vendors lining East Waterloo Street."

All the musical acts have been booked for this year, Jarvis said. The lineup is posted to the event website, www.bluesandribfest.com, along with other information.

"Our food vendors are all coming in on a steady basis and we've got our sponsors all lined up," he said. "This being our fourth year, we're getting the process down, but it's still a lot of work."

Another successful summer event that continues to grow is the city's farmers market, which will kick off its 15th season from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, May 18, downtown. The farmers market will continue every weekend through Oct. 19.

During July and August, the market will also be open from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays.

However, during the Blues and Ribfest, the Labor Day Festival (Aug. 31) and Courage-Conquer-Cure 5K race (Oct. 5) the farmers market will be closed, making room for these events.

"What a better way to start a summer Saturday than to swing by the market where friendly vendors and neighbors alike will greet you as you shop?" organizer Bobbi Sumner said. "It's important to know that your buy-local support helps keep the authentic small-town market tradition alive."

The farmers market features a variety of fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs and baked goods, as well as crafts by local artists.

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