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Riverside  Blues & BBQ headed back  to Greenfield

GREENFIELD — Franklin County Rotary Club and the Greenfield Recreation Department will once again host the Riverside Blues & BBQ Festival at Beacon Field this year.

The barbecue, which was called “Riverside” because it was originally supposed to be held at the town’s swimming pool, was moved to Beacon Field after Tropical Storm Irene pummeled the Green River Swimming and Recreation Area on Nashs Mill Road in August 2011.

Christy Moore, the town’s recreation director, said the event was such an overwhelming success the first two years that the town kept it on Beacon Field, but decided not to change the name.

The three-day event, which includes music, food, a barbecue contest, beer tastings and children’s activities, will be held Oct. 11 to 13.

The event, which has drawn about 2,000 people the last two years, will bring to town professional barbecue competitors from all over New England.

The multi-day festival will feature a New England Barbecue Society grilling contest, a Kansas City Barbeque Society contest (official state championship) and two days of blues music.

Moore said there will be crafters and vendors galore, as well as plenty to keep children entertained and amused.

As in the past, competitors will begin arriving on Oct. 11 and the festival and competitions will be held Oct. 12 and 13 from noon to 6 p.m.

On Oct. 11, “The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything — A Veggie Tales Movie,” will be shown on Beacon Field to kick off the festivities.

Moore said people should bring a blanket or lawn chair. Admission to the movie is free, and popcorn will be served by the Greenfield Alliance Church.

After its first two years, the town received a proclamation from Gov. Deval Patrick making the barbecue competition an official state championship, and as so, winners of the Riverside Blues & BBQ become qualifiers for two of the larger barbecue contests in the nation: the Jack Daniels and the American Royal.

Festival admission is $5 per day for adults. Children 10 and under are free when accompanied by a paying adult.

The barbecue sampling is another $5. It begins at noon each day and continues until the barbecued food runs out. On Oct. 12, chicken wings will be featured and on Oct. 13 it will be pulled pork.

The event will also feature the BrewFest Beer Samplin’ Saloon again this year, which will cost $20 per person. That will be held both Oct. 12 and 13 from 1 to 5 p.m.

An ATM will be available on Beacon Field.

Presale tickets for the beer sampling will save buyers $5. Those tickets are available at Ryan & Casey Liquors on Main Street in Greenfield, as well as the Greenfield Recreation Department office on Sanderson Street.

The presale tickets are $20 and include festival admission for one day and a one-day ticket to the BrewFest Samplin’ Saloon. The barbecue sampling is not included in that price.

Anyone who wants pre-sale tickets must be 21 years old or older and have valid identification on festival day.

The event will be held rain or shine.

Parking for the festival will be available on side streets, as well as the parking lots at 48 Sanderson St. and at the middle school. The Greenfield Trolley will provide a shuttle to and from those locations.

There will be live music throughout the weekend and local, regional and national brewers will provide samples of their brews.

Some of the performers will include Wildcat O’Halloran Band, Gracie Curran and the High Falutin’, Janet Ryan, Eva Cappelli and the Watershops Band, Charlie Hilbert, and Vaneese Thomas.

There will be a pie-eating contest, a mustache contest, harp contest and a stein-hoisting contest.

There will also be a keg toss and barrel roll.

Awards will be handed out at 5:15 p.m. on Oct. 13. For more information, call 413-772-1553 or visit: www.riversidebluesandbbq.com.

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