Good to the bone
Rock, Ribs and Ridges fest draws hundreds
PHOTOS BY CHRIS WYMAN Pit Master Jay Altamore and Chef Dan Lemire of Chumleys BBQ and Catering of Florida, N.Y. are shown cooking up some chicken.
At center, Chief Operating Officer Larry Ciccarelli of Hardyston's Cava Winery and Vineyard is shown pouring some wine for a potential customer.
New Riders of the Purple Sage are shown performing on Saturday afternoon.
Music lovers listen to some tunes.
By Laurie Gordon
AUGUSTA — This past weekend, hundreds of rock-loving fans flocked to The Sussex County Fairgrounds to hear some legendary bands and chow down on some of the world's best ribs. In its fifth year, Rock, Ribs and Ridges found a new home at the fairgrounds and locals sampled delicious ribs, specialty brews of larger and music by a host of bands culminating with a performance by rock legend George Thorogood.
The fairgrounds' fields were scattered with lawn chairs and dotted with tents, and a host of vendors sold items including pocketbooks, cigars, specialty vodka, all types of beer, ice cream and even pulled pork pizza.
The culinary highlight was the ribs.
Several companies were on hand to sell their specialty ribs including Texas Smoke BBQ of Jefferson, Three Men and a Baby Back, Handsome Devil, LLC, Dinosaur BBQ, Pig Tails, and Chumleys BBQ and Catering of Florida, N.Y. which tempted concert-goers with free samples. Hardyston’s Cava Winery and Vineyard was also on hand.
Location, location, location
Rock, Ribs and Ridges is produced by Promo 1, an event management company. Founder and CEO, Howard Freeman said after doing a balloon festival for many years, the owner at the now out-of-business Hidden Valley approached them about doing a balloon festival in Sussex County at the Vernon ski area in the summer.
"I told them that balloons on a mountain weren't going to work but said some good music and beer certainly would," Freeman said.
Since it was to be in the mountains, they added the word "ridges" to rock and ribs and the name of the festival was born. That was five years ago, where Marshall Tucker headlined the first Rock, Ribs and Ridges.
For the next four years, the festival returned to Hidden Valley. Freeman said it continued to grow, and last year they worried it had outgrown the location at Hidden Valley. Fate stepped in, and Hidden Valley went out of business forcing the festival to look for a new home.
"We considered a number of options," Freeman said, "But the management at the Fair Grounds was so compelling and the location seemed not only much bigger, but centrally located to attract a bigger crowd."
The fairgrounds proved to be a winning venue, as the crowd was huge and Freeman deemed the festival a huge success.
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