Buckeye BBQ Fest set for next weekend

Event in West Chester features blues and brews.

Kingsgate Transportation Buckeye BBQ Fest, benefitting The Rotary Club of West Chester/Liberty, will return next weekend with more blues, brews and BBQ.

Art Mathews, event chairman and Rotary Club of West Chester/Liberty honorary member, said, “One of the new things is that for the first-time Buckeye BBQ Fest is presenting a local microbrewery. It was a contest, and the brewery that was chosen was MadTree Brewing Company. A fourth brewing station will be added that will exclusively be serving five flavors of MadTree. In all, there will be about 150 kegs with 22 different flavors, which will be served throughout the festival.”

There will be 16 barbecue vendors from all over the Midwest on-site, 11 dessert vendors, and a total of 72 participating vendors throughout the festival. The Budweiser Double Decker Party Bus is another popular attraction.

The Buckeye BBQ Fest will be held on Friday, May 19, and Saturday, May 20, at The Square @ Union Centre in West Chester. Up to 15,000 visitors are expected to attend the two-day, family-friendly event. On average, several hundred volunteers participate.

“I’ve been a 25-year resident of West Chester, and the chair of this event for four years, and I’ve seen a lot of excitement. We are the opening festival of the summer festival season. People really appreciate that opportunity to shake off their winter blues with a little blues, brews and BBQ,” Mathews said.

Buckeye BBQ Fest has again teamed up with the Cincy Blues Society to showcase 12 critically-acclaimed blues acts. The headliner for Friday night is Southern Avenue from 9:30 to 11. On Saturday, Noah Wotherspoon Band is the headlining act from 9:15 to 11 p.m.

The Hauser Air Kid Zone will offer inflatable rides and games on Friday and Saturday as well as face painting and caricature drawings. There will be a 12-animal petting zoo on Saturday from noon to 8:30 p.m.

Another aspect of the festival is the Extermital Car Show presented by Fiehrer Motors Inc. On Friday night, there will be 30 “club cars” in an open car show. (It’s not a cruise-in, but an invitation-only event. Pre-registered vehicles only.) On Saturday, there will be a judged, pre-1970’s classic car and open hot rod show with an award presentation on Saturday at 5:45 p.m. There will be about 40 cars highlighted on Saturday.

Proceeds from the event benefit The Rotary Club of West Chester/Liberty, and will go back into the local community to organizations such as Boys & Girls Club of West Chester/Liberty, EDGE Teen Center, One Way Farm Children’s Home, Reach Out Lakota, Boy Scouts, and Girl Scouts, among others. Rotary also works with local schools, providing over $10,000 scholarships to the Lakota School District, among other endeavors. Nationally, the club supports Backpacks for Pine Ridge. Rotary Club of West Chester/Liberty currently has close to 70 active members.

Contact this contributing writer at gmwriteon@aol.com.

How to go

What: Kingsgate Transportation Buckeye BBQ Fest

Where: The Square @ Union Centre, 9285 Centre Pointe Drive, West Chester

When: Friday, May 19 from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. and on Saturday, May 20 from noon to 11 p.m.

Cost: $5 per day, children ages 12 and under are free. Food and beverage items are available for purchase. $5 beers.

More info: www.BuckeyeBBQFest.org

Also: No coolers or pets allowed. (Service dogs only.)

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