Grooves to the blues

Large crowd turns out to annual Red, White,?Blues Festival

OBSERVER Photo by Jo Ward A large crowd attends the concerts in Barker Common on Saturday.

In its 23rd year, the annual Red, White & Blues Festival saw its largest turnout ever Saturday.

“I’m estimating 800-1,000 people this year, just in the park alone, not including bar traffic,” Festivals Fredonia Chairman Larry Fiorella stated.

No doubt the streets were crowded as the cooler temperatures and low humidity most likely played a part in this success.

Vendors turned out in droves, with the number topping 27 and the food stands had three newcomers on the block as well — Racheal’s Cafe, Boom Boom Pow and Domus Fare in addition to returning favorites Siri Thai, EBC West and Big Melch’s. There were more than 60 gift baskets donated and a 50/50 raffle. Proceeds from these would go to the Give Back Program that gives each year to a Fredonia non-profit organization. This year’s give back recipient is Fredonia Grange No. 1.

The festival kicked off at the American Legion Friday night, headed up to Liberty’s and finished the evening off at the Beaver’s Club. It then geared up Saturday morning at 11 a.m. with opening act Tim Bartlett. The big act for 2018 was the eight-piece Buffalo act Miller and the Other Sinners, who took to the Barker Common gazebo at 3 p.m.

OBSERVER Photo by Jo Ward Miller and the Other Sinners, an eight piece blues ensemble out of Buffalo headlined the Red, White & Blues Festival this year.

At 5 p.m., people began milling around to the different bars that litter the downtown area as bands took the stage each hour. The crawl began at Fred’s then went to Lil Magill’s, Old

Main Inn, Muldoons/Tully’s Pub, EBC West and finished up at Valentine’s Place.

Two major sponsors for the event this year were Three Chord Bourbon and Buffalo Distilling, both out of Buffalo. The cocktail contest amongst the bars, had to be made using either bourbon or vodka, courtesy of Three Chord. Eight judges went into each bar with several different criteria from taste, presentation and creativity. The winner received a $100 prize from Three Chord, and a trophy with bragging rights for the year.

This year also saw the return of a sorely missed event, the 9/11 Memorial Motorcycle Run. The run stopped a few years ago due to the organizer moving away. The Marksmen M.C. out of Buffalo took over hosting it, where it started off at the American Legion, toured all the other Legions in the area and then ended at Barker Common. The proceeds from the registration are to be split between Fredonia Memorial Post No. 59 and the Disabled American Veterans. A door prize by Echevarria Designs was given to one lucky biker commemorating 9/11.

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