It Helps To Be Flexible....August 1, 2008 Columbus Ohio is the home of the Jazz and Ribfest which is held right on the river in downtown Columbus. We pulled into town and as we were listening to the radio, the news guy came on and said that the city had closed the Town Street bridge. He also said that the Jazz and Ribfest was held partly on the Town Street Bridge. Hmmm... I was worried about Des Moines being under water at the event the week before... now I had to worry about the event being canceled or something like that.
Luckily, the event staff, especially Terri were on top of things and did a quick re-org of the site and were very informative throughout the whole process. We had a great spot and wonderful crowds. The anticipated attendance was 400,000 and with the nice weather all three days, I think they reached that number.
We usually like the "neighbors" that we are close to and had a great time with the Zone Perfect Energy Bar guys and the Strawberry Fields Fruit Smoothie people. We were right at the end of the closed bridge and had the whole intersection all to ourselves. Most everybody had to walk right by us and while they came for the music and ribs, we still had good crowds for our demos and samplings.
We had a rain shower late on Saturday evening and put everything up and walked across the Broad St bridge to the other side where there was another music stage, rib vendors and exhibits. The vendor lines were probably forty people deep at each spot and when we saw the "Big Boned" guys, they said people were nonstop for at least six hours at their booth. We were glad for that since we were at a couple of events that the vendors got rained out.
Sunday evening, they handed out trophies to the vendors and I saw that Butch with "Smack your Lips" BBQ won the "People's Choice" and was being interviewed by one of the TV stations holding up a huge trophy! One of the vendors close to him was selling beef ribs which were the size of your forearm - seriously!! I'm used to pork ribs and even St Louis style, they aren't even close to the size of these beef ribs they were selling.
After the trophies, things slowed down and the event ended around 7 or so. Since we were heading home - after two months on the road - we were packed up and ready to go. I even talked a couple of police officers to hold the walking traffic so we could turn around and pull out of the event easily.
As we were heading home, we usually play it by ear where we will stay for the night based upon how tired we are with the drive, so we did not make reservations ahead of time. Leaving Columbus, our route took us through Indianapolis which unbeknownst to us at the time had hosted the Brickyard 400 stock car race that afternoon. So when we decided that just West of Indy would be a great place to stay for the night, we were too late to get a room and the only available room was in Terre Haute. Indianapolis is on the East edge of Indiana while Terre Haute is on the West edge which meant additional drive time. Lucky for us though, we were anxious to get home so the drive was not bad at all. For those of you in Southern Ohio, Indiana and Illinois who might have seen a strange blue and white "streak" on the interstate, please remember that it had been two months of hotel beds and bumpy roads so we were flat moving down the highway! Luckily the highway patrol officers out were already busy with "speeders", that or they just couldn't catch us. Maybe they saw the back of our trailer and felt sorry for us, knowing that we were headed home.
Our oldest daughter graduates from college on Friday so all the grandparents will be in town and everybody is looking forward to some award winning BBQ. Since I did not get some of Butch's ribs in Columbus, they will just have to settle for my cooking!
We'll talk again on the way to Lebanon, TN... in a couple of weeks. Until then, please go eat some BBQ, enjoy the fellowship of your friends and remember to tell your family that you love them.
Mike & Chris