BBQ, Blues & Bikes thundering back to E'town

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Nine acts scheduled between two stages in event's second year

By Marty Finley

The BBQ, Blues & Bikes Festival returns to downtown Elizabethtown for the second time Saturday, bringing hogs of different shades and shapes.

The sprawling event will feature a multitude of motorcycles taking over the historic area as nine blues acts will filter onto two stages throughout the day. The event is slated from noon to 10 p.m. Admission is free.

The day kicks off at 8 a.m. at American Legion Post 113 at 1251 Ring Road in Eliza­bethtown, where visitors can register for the Thunder into E’town Motorcycle Ride until 9:45 a.m. The legion will host an all-you-can-eat breakfast at its headquarters for $6.

“It’s better than your mother’s, not quite as good as your grandma’s,” the event’s website states.

The ride kicks off at 10 a.m. and will make stops at the Elizabethtown Nature Park, to visit the Vietnam Memorial Wall replica, and the Gen. George Patton Museum of Leadership at Fort Knox to see the restored World War II barracks before storming downtown Elizabethtown in style. Proceeds from the ride benefit the Wounded Warrior Project.

The remainder of the day will be taken up by the roar of motorcycles, the smooth licks of blues music and the smell of barbecue with two music stages set up at The Historic State Theater and the Brown-Pusey House.

“The caliber of music is truly fantastic,” said Christy Pritchard, chairwoman of the Elizabethtown-Hardin County Heritage Council.

Both venues are selling alcohol, and the city has designated an alcohol zone in downtown for festivalgoers to take their beers.

After only one active year, the event recently was named a Top 10 Festival in Kentucky for Spring 2014 by the Kentucky Travel Industry Association after being nominated by the Elizabethtown Tourism & Convention Bureau.

Pritchard said the event is larger this year, with the vendor list expanding to more than 50 with several barbecue and bike accessory vendors and other general vendors scheduled. The kids’ zone also is expanded this year, she said.

Pritchard said she has no expectations on visitors because there is no way to accurately count the crowd, but if they see 15,000 to 20,000 people it will be superb.

“The response we are getting is saying it’s going to be huge,” Pritchard said.

Don Oswald, who handles vocal and guitar duties as D Man of Louisville-area blues band D Man & The Alley Hounds, said they are honored to be playing the festival for a second time. The band served as an inspiration for the festival after members played gigs in downtown Elizabethtown during Second Saturday.

“This second annual BBQ, Blues & Bikes Festival should be absolutely awesome,” Oswald said. “Some of the finest blues talent around will be at this thing.”

Add to it the massive number of motorcycles and all the barbecue you could desire and it should be a memorable event, he said.

“We have a set planned that will not be easily forgotten,” Oswald said. “We will rock Elizabethtown ... again.”

Marty Finley can be reached at 270-505-1762 or mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com