to add more variety to summer offerings
(April 2002) MADISON, Ind. Two new festivals are
being planned for this summer on Madisons riverfront: Bluegrass
on the River on June 7-8 and the Madison Ribberfest on Aug. 16-17.
Both events are being sponsored by the Madison Area Convention
and Visitors Bureau and local commercial sponsors. They were conceived
in part as a way of generating more tourism traffic in months where
there had previously been no major festival in town, according to Madison
Mayor Al Huntington.
My goal as mayor is to have one major festival per month from
April to December, and this is a step in that direction, Huntington
Mike Brown of the Jefferson County Bluegrass Association is organizing
the two-day bluegrass festival. He expects 4,000 people to attend.
Bands include Skynard Lynard, The Lynn Morris Band and Dean Osborne
and Eastbound. Local bands will also perform.
Bluegrass is especially growing among 30-year-olds and up, so
this event may attract an older crowd, said Brown, a resident
of Hanover, Ind. Madison needs entertainment for people of all
ages, so this (older crowd) is going to be our niche.
Bands will perform from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, and from 11 a.m. to
11 p.m. Saturday. There will also be a flea market and food and crafts
booths. Camping will be available.
In August, the riverfront barbecue cooking contests and hot air balloon
races will come to Madison with the Madison Ribberfest. It was conceived
to celebrate the citys history as a major pork packing center,
said Jeff Garrett, a former city councilman who recently moved back
to his native Madison.
He has been hired by the tourism bureau to organize the event and is
directing a group of 35 volunteers. He anticipates a budget of $90,000,
based on sponsorships, wristband sales and $10,000 in seed money provided
by the city of Madison and the Jefferson County Board of Tourism. Belterra
Casino Resort has committed $10,000 in sponsorship money for Ribberfest
and $3,000 for the bluegrass festival.
Madison Ribberfest will include both amateur and national cooking contests.
The latter, to be called the Indiana Barbecue Cook-Off Championship,
will be sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, with the winners
advancing to the American Royal, the societys world championship.
They will also compete for more than $5,000 in cash and prizes.
Blues bands, including the Sacramento, Calif.-based Little
Charlie and the Nightcats, plus Sugar Ray and the Blue Tones, have been
booked for the event. Madisons own Blues Devils are among the
local bands scheduled to perform. The musical entertainment will last
from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and all day Saturday, beginning at 11
One conflict that is being resolved is that Madison Main Street Programs
Music in the Park series was originally scheduled to present the Doctors
Band on the riverfront on Aug. 16, the first day of Ribberfest. The
Doctors Band has been booked to play Ribberfest on Saturday. The
Music in the Park series is free, while Ribberfest patrons must purchase
Madison Main Street Program director Dave Adams said in late March that
the problems are being resolved by booking Young Country for August
instead and moving the free concert to Broadway and Sixth Street. He
hopes to move the Doctors Band performance to September.
RE/MAX of Indiana is sponsoring two rabbit-and-hare hot air balloon
races during Ribberfest that will lift off on the Milton, Ky., side
of the Ohio River on Saturday morning and again in the evening. A balloon
glow is also scheduled, featuring up to 30 balloons. Jim Pruett, broker
at the Madison REMAX office, is serving as balloon race chairman.
A cement pig decorating contest also is being planned, whereby local
businesses would sponsor and decorate pigs to help promote the event.
This sort of contest has been done in other cities and is very
popular. People really get into it, said Garrett, 46, who last
year sold his share of a security company he founded in Indianapolis
and retired because of health reasons.
Garrett said he expects the inaugural event to attract 10,000 people
over two days.
A music stage facing northeast will be constructed in the vacant lot
along Vaughn Drive between Poplar and West streets for both the Bluegrass
on the River and the Madison Ribberfest, organizers said.
For information, contact Brown at (812) 866-4344 or Garrett
at (812) 265-6466. Or visit these websites: www.madisonribberfest.com
Back to April 2002 Articles.