Saturday, June 9, 2012
06/09/12 A Few Scenes From The 8th Annual Famous Dave's BBQ-Blues Fest @ Downtown Minneapolis, MN
(Images via NYCDreamin Archives)
Taking full advantage of the absoluetly beautiful and cloudless 90-degree day, the Gorgeous One and I made an early afternoon trip into Minneapolis to enjoy some Famous Daves BBQ and to check out a couple hours of Blues performances at the 8th annual Famous Dave's BBQ-Blues Fest.
This year the festival was uprooted from the relative comfort of the landscape-terraced and somewhat shady Peavy Plaza, which is undergoing some renovations this summer. The new location? A flat, sun-drenched parking lot located on Nicollet Avenue between 3rd and 4th Streets where the old Minneapolis Rib-Fest used to be held before it was moved off to Harriet Island in St. Paul and consequently died off a few years later. We could hear the music from a few blocks away as we walked over to Nicollet Avenue. This was the scene looking to the south-west when we arrived just after 1:30pm.
The grills were already fired up and smokin' up the area with that most pleasant of summer smells...BBQ! A fleet of Famous Daves vehicles from around the Twin Cities metro area continued to pull in and drop off even more food for the event, which will run through around 11:00pm tonight.
The Gorgeous One ordered up a fresh-squeezed ice cold lemonade and then we stepped over to the BBQ booth and placed our orders. She had the 4-bone platter of ribs and a cob of grilled corn. I settled on a pulled pork sandwhich drenched in Famous Dave's award winning Devil's Spit and Georgia Mustard sauces with a side of beans to finish it off. The food, delicious as it was, was gone so fast we didn't even get a chance to take a photo!
Quite a crowd was already assembled in the south-west corner of the parking lot in front of the two stages set up sid-by-side for the days musical performers.
When we arrived, Sena Ehrhardt and her band (photo below) were on the main stage, belting out some smooth and funky sounding blues standards. They sounded pretty good and repeatedly and enthusiastically thanked the crowd for coming out early to catch their set.
We also caught the short 2:30pm set by the Cole Allen Band. Just as we were leaving around 3:00pm, the Johnny Rawls Band took the main stage.
During all this, as we finished off our meal, an ambulance with lights a-flashing and sirens a-wailing, pulled into the east side of the lot right near the bank of Biff's porta-johns that were set up on site. Seems someone was having some kind of medical difficulty. I speculated that maybe they were overcome by the undescribably noxious fumes coming from the porta-johns.
After the cops and paramedics placed the victim (turns out it was a lady) onto a stretcher and then into the back of the ambulance, an announcement was made from the stage that she had been overcome by dehydration and slight heat exhaustion. Everyone was encouraged to "please stay hydrated" due to the extreme heat. With that bit of advice, the Gorgeous One and I polished off the rest of her now piss-warm lemonade and got up to get a re-fill.
A few minutes after the ambulance left the parking lot and the music continued on, and as we began to contemplate heading for home, a Biff's truck pulled up. This rather large proportioned, obviously hard working dude stepped out of the cab of the truck and then began the "someone's gotta do it" job of visually inspecting each of the the porta-potties. After he pulled the coiled hose attatched to the truck's large sewage tank off it's cradle, this poor fellow stepped back in to each of the "full" toilets and quickly suctioned out the contents. As fast as he emptied each one it seemed someone stepped up to begin the process of filling it with digested BBQ and beer all over again. I told the Gorgeous One I hoped the poor guy made some good money today.
We had no real intention of spending the entire day at the Dave's Fest this year, in fact going at all was kind of a last minute idea. So, just after 3:00pm, with our BBQ-Blues jones satiated - and our medical emergency/scatologically voyeuristic curiosities satisfied - we decided it was time to g.t.f.o. of the sun and head off for home.
Maybe next year we'll plan to stay a bit longer - and hopefully they move the whole thing back to Peavy Paza. Yeah, that would be nice I think.