Smoky ribs and smokin’ riffs could draw more than 5,000 people to Cottonwood Kids Park at Verde Valley Fairgrounds on Saturday, Oct. 2, when Cottonwood busts out for the fifth annual Rhythm & Ribs festival.
The ribs, prepared by seven Northern Arizona restaurateurs, will draw thousands, but the music, performed by homegrown, chart-topping Tempe band, Gin Blossoms, should attract even more, according to Parks and Recreation Department spokesman Hezekiah Allen.
“Hey Jealousy,” “Follow You Down,” and “Till I hear From You” is a short list of the band’s hit songs from the mid-1990s. The band won a 1996 Grammy nomination for best performance by a duo or group for its recording of “As Long As It Matters,” a year before its breakup in 1997.
Back together since 2001, the band has toured and recorded until the present. Gin Blossoms’ latest album, “Chocolate Cake,” was released Sept. 27.
The band appears in Cottonwood just days after the release, traveling on its way from Las Vegas to Tulsa, Okla., three stops on its 2010 nationwidetour. The band is one of four to take the stage at the festival, which starts at 11 a.m.and closes at 8 p.m.
The scene is equally appetizing on the food front. Competition among Northern Arizona rib vendors, one from Black Canyon City, looks fierce again this year, Allen said.
Hog Wild, the 2009 champion of both the judges and the people, expects to repeat this year, restaurant manager Brenda Hansen said.
“Mike [West] just might have something special up his sleeve this year,” she said. West, Hog Wild chef, would announce details at the festival, she said.
Rhythm & Ribs Schedule
11 a.m.: Rudy “Boy” Experiment|
1:30 p.m.: Tramps & Thieves
4 p.m.: Stephen Ashbrook
5 p.m.: People’s Choice voting ends
5:30 p.m.: Judge’s Choice tasting begins
6 p.m.: Rib winners announced on stage
6:30 p.m.: The Gin Blossoms
Murphy’s Bar & Grill returns to the competition under a new kitchen manager who wants to showcase food quality upgrades at the eatery by proudly serving his Caribbean dry rub recipe.
“I’m going with a reggae music theme,” Justin Harju said. “It’s a top secret Caribbean dry rub with a sweet, spicy glaze.” A special desert will also be served, he said.
Bad Ass BBQ from Black Canyon City reported so many customers said the restaurant was missed at the 2009 festival, it decided to return to compete in 2010. People should know her restaurant serves Arizona barbecue the right way, owner Donna Cilleen said.
“The meat literally falls off the bone,” she said. “We use a homemade barbecue sauce that’s really, super delicious.”
Main Street Café and Pizzeria from Clarkdale will serve pizza along with ribs just to give festivalgoers a choice of foods. Owner Scott Buckley said his homemade St. Louis-style sauce makes his smoked ribs sweet and tasty.
For more information, contact the Cottonwood Parks and Recreation Department at 639-3200.
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