Patrons should bring an appetite for barbecue and a love of music to the 38th annual Columbus Jazz & Rib Fest -- and don't forget cash.

The event, to be held Friday through Sunday, July 21-23, in downtown Columbus is free and open to the public. It runs from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sunday.

But food and drink -- and some activities -- require a cash transaction, said Bill Behnke, program coordinator of the Jazz & Rib Fest.

ATMs will be set up throughout festival grounds along the Scioto Mile so patrons can withdraw their money, Behnke said.

Key components of the event have not changed much over recent years, Behnke said.

On the food side, 23 teams from the U.S. and Canada will be smoking up ribs and other barbecue classics.

Schmidt's Sausage Haus und Restaurant is the only local restaurant participating in the rib portion of the festival.

Carla Epler, chief operating officer for Schmidt's, said the restaurant has been participating in the fest for more than 30 years.

Schmidt's will offer St. Louis-style ribs, pulled pork, Bahama Mama sausages, bratwurst and cream puffs.

"Our sauce is what makes us different," Epler said. "It's a pineapple habanero, so there's heat to it but it's not going to knock you off your feet. 'Sweet heat' is how we describe it."

The rib award-winners will be announced at 6 p.m. Sunday in Genoa Park.

As for the music, there will be 45 live performances on stages in three parks -- Genoa, Bicentennial and West Bank -- with all types of jazz plus blues, R&B and brass bands.

Among the music highlights, smooth-jazz artists Jonathan Butler and Gerald Albright will take the stage at 9:30 p.m. Saturday in Bicentennial Park.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, a swing band and perennial crowd-pleaser, will perform at 7 p.m. Sunday, also in Bicentennial Park.

For the first time, officials will have a trailer fully dedicated to craft beer at the corner of West Main Street and Civic Center Drive.

Children will have plenty of entertainment options from which to choose. Representatives from the Ohio State University athletic teams, the Columbus Crew and the Columbus Blue Jackets will offer games and other activities.

There will be live demonstrations at COSI, 333 W. Broad St.

Hero USA will provide people with opportunities to canoe or kayak on the Scioto River.

Behnke said the festival has become a "downtown tradition."

"It's just a wonderful opportunity to experience downtown," he said. "It's a wonderful event for families."

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary