The annual Bluegrass and Barbecue Festival, hosted by the Saline County Tourism Board, is scheduled for Oct. 6 this year at the Saline County Fairground and is expected to be more exciting than ever.
The line up includes some big-name musicians and some new additions to the event, including a fireworks display to finish off the evening with a bang. The event is free and open to the public.
Chairman of the Saline County Tourism Board John O'Dell said they are opening the fairground up to more food and craft vendors for this year's event since there will be more space at the fairground than at the Saline Creek Pioneer Village and Museum, where the festival has always been held in the past. Anyone interested in being a vendor should contact O'Dell at (618) 252-6789.
He said the festival will open around noon and close at the end of the fireworks display, which is being held by the Town and Country Lions Club. The fireworks display was originally set to celebrate the Fourth of July, but a countywide burn ban caused them to hold off on the event. Now, they will be fired off at the festival to help close out the event in a big way.
Though the Bluegrass and Barbecue Festival was first held in 1998 and has been successful ever since, this is the first year the event is being held at the fairground.
Several artists who played at previous festivals will be returning to play at the event again, including Rocky Alvey, the Bankesters and the Cumberland Highlanders, who are headed by Wayne Lewis, who used to play with Bill Monroe.
“The Cajun Travelers will be back this year,” O'Dell said, adding they were a big hit previous years.
The musical portion of the event will close out with the Phelps Brothers singing “God Bless America” just before the beginning of the fireworks display.
The festival will be held rain or shine and attendees are encouraged to bring their own lawn chair or blanket for seating, which can be set up under the large tent provided for festival-goers.