When it comes to community celebrations, Westport likes to think of itself as Anytown, USA.
But at the 4th of July fireworks, our picnics and cookouts look like they’ve been catered by Martha Stewart.
Half the Little League coaches marching in the Memorial Day parade yammer on cellphones, looking like they’re finalizing an M&A.
Thankfully, nothing is more Westport — and yet more un-Westport — than the Blues Views & BBQ Festival. It draws blues fans, barbeque cooks, partiers and families from all over town — and all over creation.
The very first year, a few big burly guys rode in on their motorcycles. Then they stood in line next to sweet little girls, waiting for their free Melissa & Doug toys.
If that don’t say “Blues Views and BBQ,” nothin’ will.
The 5th annual event is set for next weekend — September 1 and 2, at the Levitt Pavilion and library parking lot. (Only in Westport would you hold a blues festival next to the library.)
This year’s event features extended hours (till 11 p.m. on Saturday, 8 p.m. on Sunday); the return of Festival favorite James Montgomery; Sunday night closer Billy Squier (who actually has a blues background), and a dozen other bands.
Popa Chubby will be back. Supposedly last year he said, “Westport, Connecticut? I used to get arrested in places like this.” (Click below for his amazing version of “Over the Rainbow.”)
And who knew there’s a 12-year-old blues prodigy from Ridgefield — a place even less bluesy than Westport — who has performed with Buddy Guy?
But it ain’t the blues without no bbq. A Kansas City Barbeque Society competition will crown a king (or queen) of the backyard smokers (proceeds benefit the Westport Woman’s Club‘s food closet). Kids compete for the best hot dog, burger and “chef’s choice.”
There’s also a BBQ marketplace, and a food court filled with not only wood-fired, grilled and roasted goods, along with ice cream and pie, but also handcrafted beer. (This being Westport, there’s also premium liquor and wine.)
Other activities include cooking demonstrations by chefs sponsored by CTBites; pie and rib eating contests; performances by the School of Rock; street performers; educational events, and the Melissa & Doug Kids’ Corral with hands-on activities, arts and crafts, games, giveaways, bull riding, magicians, tattoos, karate and more.
On the first 2 days of September, Westport, Connecticut becomes the Blues Capital of the United States.
The press release promises a “foot stompin’, finger lickin’, down-home festival.” Yes, right next to the library.
(Blues, Views & BBQ runs Saturday, September 1 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday, September 2 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students and seniors; children under 5 are free. Click here for discount packages or more information. The event is sponsored by the Westport Downtown Merchants Association.)