By John Grindrod
Of course, there are traditions for every season, but, for me, the ones that are most enjoyable are those when I‚??m not forking over gobs of money to Dominion, my gas provider.
Listening again to the sound a wooden bat makes when it squarely strikes a ball at a Loco game at Simmons Field, taking my bike out for a spin to Faurot Park and across the road to the bike path and smearing on some sun block, grabbing my lounge chair and a good book and heading for the backyard for an hour or so to catch some rays, I must admit, are pretty high up on my summer tradition list.
But, what I most look forward to each summer is the Blues, Brews and BBQ, at the Knights of Columbus, and the third annual event is right around the corner, Aug. 11 to be exact, on the green space behind the K. of C., just south of Lima Central Catholic High School on South Cable Road.
For just five bucks and a lawn chair or for a 10-chair table in a premium viewing spot, music lovers can get their fill of four terrific blues acts while hoisting a few cold ones and munching on some great barbecue items, thanks to our friends at C and G Distributing and Q Smokin‚?? BBQ and Fixins‚??, two of this year‚??s event sponsors.
Those two local businesses are joined by event sponsors Harley-Davidson, Blacktop Sealing Inc., Wannemacher Trucking, Northwest Property Maintenance, Argonne Residency Inn, BRP Manufacturing, Kesner Insurance, and The Cheap Sign Co. to make such a top-flight entertainment event possible.
According to event organizer Jim Lee, some of the first two years‚?? attendees hailed from far beyond the Lima area.
‚??Just from reading license plates on motorcycles, cars and even an occasional RV, I know this event has drawn people from West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Indiana, which I think is so cool,‚?Ě he said. ‚??Any time music can be used as a magnet to bring people together, especially when it‚??s an outdoor venue, well, I just don‚??t see any negatives.‚?Ě
While there were some rain issues last year, Lee said he was pleased that the entire show was brought to a successful conclusion. However, he is hoping for the pattern of this summer‚??s dry weather to hold serve on festival day.
‚??Of course, we will have a tent and a little rain won‚??t slow us down, but we all have our fingers crossed for one of those beautiful Midwestern summer evenings,‚?Ě he said.
The bands have been handpicked by Pickle, this town‚??s pre-eminent aficionado of the blues.
According to Pickle, from the first act at 4 p.m. and on through the final hot guitar licks at 11:30 p.m., this year‚??s talent comprises as good a blues festival as you are going to hear in this part of the state.
One of the acts hails from Pittsburgh, Mahajibee Blues. Featuring its own unique brand of blues, with a heavy influx of songs about what most everybody pursues, love and money, the band features not one but two lead guitarists. The five-man group takes its unusual band name from a word, ‚??mahajibee,‚?Ě Dan Ackroyd, AKA Elwood Blues, says is a nonsense word when the one you want just doesn‚??t come to mind.
The other three acts all hail from the city that arguably is the blues capital of the world, Chicago.
Frank Bang and the Secret Stash feature a front man who, it has been said, plays guitar as if he were born with it in his hand. Bang is devoted to the music of his youth, rock ‚??n‚?? roll. While there‚??s no doubt rock ‚??n‚?? roll has taken up residency in his heart, it‚??s his soul that screams the blues. Bang has six different songs in rotation on XM Bluesville and Sirrius Blues Radio. His r√©sum√© also includes performances on ‚??The Tonight Show‚?Ě and ‚??Late Night with Conan O‚??Brien.‚?Ě
For the last two performers making the drive over from Second City, Mike Wheeler and Linsey Alexander, the latter of whom appeared at the first year‚??s K. of C.-sponsored event, there‚??s something that truly mystifies Lima‚??s Pickle.
‚??I‚??m really amazed that Mike and Linsey aren‚??t more famous, that‚??s how good they are. Of course for those of us who follow this genre of music closely, we know them so very well. But, I‚??m amazed that both are known by everyone,‚?Ě he said. ‚??As for Linsey, well, just ask anyone who was at our first festival here at the Knights back in 2010 about this man‚??s talent. He absolutely blew the crowd away. I am so excited we were able to get both of these master blues craftsmen here on the same stage. They are both absolute headliners.‚?Ě
There will be cold ones and wine coolers for sale from the good folks at C and G, and there will also be a whole mess of barbecue delights, including ribs, smoked pulled chicken and pork sandwiches and smoked sausage sandwiches among other items, available for purchase by Q‚??s.
Lee points out that the event is, of course, biker-friendly.
‚??We‚??ll certainly have special parking for those who ride,‚?Ě he said.
Those wishing to reserve a table for up to 10 can get those tickets at the Knights of Columbus. Single tickets may also be purchased at the K. of C. before the event or at the gate. Tickets are also available at Happy Daz, Smokin‚?? Q, Beer Barrel and Harley-Davidson.
The harsh realities of a Midwestern winter will be here all too soon, so now‚??s the time for some cold ones, some great eats and some of the best blues you‚??ll ever hear at the third annual Knights of Columbus‚?? Blues, Brews and BBQ.