Organizers of the third annual Canal Winchester Blues & Ribfest are promising a bigger and better event this year.

Organizers of the third annual Canal Winchester Blues & Ribfest are promising a bigger and better event this year.

Destination: Canal Winchester organizes the event, which has drawn about 20,000 people each of the last two years. Bruce Jarvis, executive director of Destination: Canal Winchester, said the group hopes for even larger crowds this year, as long as the weather cooperates.

"We have to raise about $60,000 from scratch each year to put this on, so we're very thankful for our sponsors," he said. "We've done more marketing this year and with their help, we hope to keep this going year after year and making it bigger and better."

The Blues & Ribfest is scheduled from 5 to 11 p.m. Aug. 3 and from noon to 11 p.m. Aug. 4.

"I'm so excited about the music lineup this year, both for the Main stage and the Stradley stage," Jarvis said. "We've been working long and hard all year and we're ready to go for 2012 with some favorite bands coming back and some surprises."

Nearly 20 musical acts will perform, including Main stage headliners Ray Fuller and the Bluesrockers and the Sean Carney Band.

"Rumor has it there may be a call-up during Ray Fuller's Friday act of Fred Ricart," Jarvis said. "I've heard him for years on TV but never heard him play seriously, and I think that would be a first for a lot of local folks."

Jarvis said he expects another good competition among rib vendors as well.

"We're anticipating 11 rib vendors, so there'll be plenty of variety around," he said. "The competition offers trophies for first through third place and, of course, bragging rights. There's also the prestigious People's Choice Award ... we'll have ballots people can fill out for their favorite rib vendor."

Awards for the rib competitions will be announced prior to Saturday night's headliner show, at 9 p.m.

"In addition to that, we'll have a wide variety of other food items, including dessert and ice cream options; a lot of the same faces from the past are joining us again," Jarvis said. "We're going to have a children's area with bounce houses and face painting, as well as an arts and high-end crafts sale."

Tickets will be sold for the bounce house activities but the live music and face painting are free. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and their appetites, but Jarvis said people should leave their pets at home.

The Blues & Ribfest also provides an opportunity to support other Canal Winchester organizations, he said.

"While the proceeds of this go back into Destination: Canal Winchester, something we're doing again this year is partnering with our local nonprofits," he said. "We exchange their volunteer help for a donation to their organization. Last year, we were able to divide up $5,000 between nine different organizations."

More information, including a performance schedule, is available online at