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Barbecue, brews, tunes spice up festival


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The Fourth Street plaza will be closed to traffic Saturday for a night of barbecue, music and beer.

The first BBQ, Blues & Brew festival will feature food from local restaurants and vendors; a chance to taste regional and national beers, and blues-based music.

“We just want to create more landmark events and outdoor festivals downtown,” said festival co-organizer Steve Leach.

Leach, who owns The Garage Pub & Grill, worked with 4th Street Bar & Grill owner Kurt Schwarze to come up with the event.

“The city gave us this wonderful entertainment district — and we want to give people more reasons to stay in Columbus.”

Leach and Schwarze, who began their event-planning collaboration with the Finish on 4th event following September’s Mill Race Marathon, have formed a separate event production company, Fun on 4th, to create events for the entertainment corridor.

Thus BBQ, Blues & Brew was born — an event the organizers hope will grow over time.

“Everybody likes barbecue, everybody likes beer,” Schwarze said. “And everybody likes music. There wasn’t really another Columbus event ever, to our knowledge, that was centered around barbecue.”

Eight local restaurants and pit masters will provide their various barbecue-style offerings:

The Savory Swine

Chef Eric Smith of Bistro 310

Bubba Blues BBQ

Smith’s Row

Big Daddy’s Donuts and BBQ

Power House Brewing Co.

The Indiana Smokehouse

Jay Cole of Gramz Bakery

Patti Taylor, general manager of Bubba Blues, plans to serve pulled pork with three different sauces.

“Sweet and tangy is our most popular,” she said.

From their trailer, Bubba Blues staff will serve up 25 to 30 pork butts and six to seven briskets.

Bubba Blues’ meats will come either as sandwiches or on the restaurants’ loaded chips, which feature house-made, seasoned chips, cheese sauce, barbecue sauce, tomatoes, onions, corn, sour cream, jalapeños and shredded cheese.

Matt Gatesy, co-owner of the soon-to-open Indiana Smokehouse, will serve brisket, spare ribs, smoked baked beans, cole slaw, seasoned locally grown tomatoes, and brownies as desserts.

He saw it as a good opportunity to promote his business.

As indicated by the event’s name, beer holds an important position in the fest.

Organizers wanted to highlight local craft beer, so the event will feature brews by local and national lines including:

Power House Brewing Co.

ZwanzigZ Brewery

Taxman Brewing Company

Quaff On Brewing Company

Bartholomew County Beverage Co.

True to the event’s name, two bands will provide blues-influenced music: Top Hat Blues Revue and Mike Milligan and Steam Shovel.

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