10th annual festival to be held downtown on Aug. 2

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

The 10th annual Pickerington Jazz & Blues Ribfest promises to be the biggest yet.

For the first time, the event will include a second stage to accommodate what organizers expect to be record crowds.

This year's festival, sponsored by the Olde Pickerington Village Business Association, is scheduled to run from 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Aug. 2 on Columbus Street in Olde Pickerington Village. To accommodate the festival, Columbus Street, between Cross and North Center streets, will close starting at 8 a.m. and is expected to reopen at midnight.

Event chairwoman and OPVBA president Keely Weaver said last year's festival drew an estimated crowd of 12,000, double the previous year.

"Blues is very competitive around Columbus and we have a lot of bands that would like to get into the festival," Weaver said. "One stage was not enough last year.

"We try to add something every year," she said. "This year, we're making things just a little bit bigger to accommodate the amount of people that will probably be coming."

The new stage will be set up in Gazebo Park at the corner of Columbus and North Center streets. It will feature jazz and "lighter" blues, Weaver said.

"I think the gazebo stage will appeal more to families," she said. "It's people that want to put down a blanket and listen to some music. Not everybody wants the hard-rocking blues."

For those who do, the blues stage will be located at the other end of the festival near Cross Street and the festival beer garden.

The lineups for the festival's two stages include Willie Phoenix, Bluesville Drifters, Aces High, Terry Davidson & The Gears, Ray Fuller & The Blues Rockers, Code Blue Band, Lenox Avenue Express, Walter Tore's Spontobeat and Don Basham.

Most of the performers, Weaver said, come from central Ohio.

A complete schedule of performances can be found at the OPVBA Web site, www.pickeringtonvillage.com.

In addition to the music, Weaver said the ribs cook-off is one of central Ohio's most competitive.

"They all want to be in Pickerington and at the Columbus Jazz and Rib Festival," she said.

This year, seven rib vendors are expected to participate in the festival, including Pickerington's own S&T Caterers, Cousins BBQ and Shep's Smoke Shack. First-, second- and third-place awards, as well as a people's choice award, will be presented.