Hard to believe that a whole year has past since last year’s BBQ & Bluegrass Festival happened at Expo Gardens! But it has and the second of what I hope will be a long string of annual BBQ & Bluegrass Festivals is underway tonight. So let’s make tracks to...
Expo Gardens! This is the last night of the festival and we’re a little late, but let’s go see what’s left in the evening to enjoy!
Expo Gardens welcomes us! How very nice of them! Let’s go to the Backyard BBQ area.
As I was making my towards the festivities I ran into Stuart and Angela who we met at Blue Duck BBQ during our twelve weeks of wings tour. Very cool to see both of them again!
I think I see our first stop of the evening...The Budweiser Beer Truck!
And here’s MBIP pal, Greg, serving up a can of Bud along with Julie, who’s also known as the “Rainbone Crusher” in Peoria’s Roller Derby scene. The evening is off to a perfect start!
Let’s go to the food and vendor section down here and see what’s going on and perhaps get a bite or two to eat!
It’s late, but I bet the guys at Kenny’s Westside are still up and at ‘em! Let’s go say hi...
Sean and Cramer were taking a little break over here, but Cramer stepped up to the plate to prepare us a snack to start the night out...
A tenderloin! This is the first tenderloin I’ve had since the MBIP Twenty Weeks Of Tenderloins food tour and it’s so good! It’s a thinner version of the one they serve at Kenny’s. Cramer told me they wanted to change it up a little for the BBQ festival. I really like it this way!
After polishing off the tenderloin I ran into Mo and Roxy while wandering around the vendor area. Hey, we’ve had a picture of Greg and now this one of Roxy...we need an obligatory Greg and Roxy photo pronto!
Here we go! Whew, that was close, I almost freaked out there for a second!
Here’s a food truck over here, the Meat-n-Place. I checked out the menu and it included Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Grilled Pork Nachos, Butterfly Pork Chop, Caribbean Pulled Pork and something called, The Flying Pig. I was curious as to what that was and Amanda told me that it was a monster of a sandwich consisting of Bratwurst, Caribbean Pulled Pork, BBQ Sauce, Cole Slaw and peppers all served up on a freshly-baked roll. Okay, we have to try that and here’s Amanda serving it up!
Holy freaking moly, this is like a bbq buffet on a roll and it’s delicious! So many tastes and textures going on in this sandwich. Quite a unique taste sensation!
After I finished that sandwich, Sean took me over to this vendor’s stand...
This is Philip Strods, an artist that tours music festivals and paints custom-made art onto vinyl albums featuring the bands that are playing at that particular festival.
Here’s three he did for the BBQ and Bluegrass Festival and in the lower right is one he did for the John Hartford festival, which I never knew existed. I need to try to go to that next year! I loved John Hartford and even smoked a joint with him when he was the official Captain of the Steamboat Days back in the ‘80’s! Here’s some information about the John Hartford Music Festival. Very nice to meet Philip and take a look at his impressive artwork! Thanks to Sean for introducing me to him!
Check it out, it’s the Melted stand! They were here last year and I was hoping they’d make a return visit! There’s Melted’s head chef, Uncle Red to the right with two of his crew. Uncle Red told me he’s working on getting a Melted Restaurant here in Peoria! That would be great and stay tuned for details on that. Till then, though...
Let’s have one of Uncle Red’s mouth-watering grilled cheese sandwiches! This is Horseradish Cheddar on Sourdough bread and it is simply amazing! The bread is grilled crispy and buttery on the outside and when you bite in to the sandwich, your tastebuds are treated to rich, velvety, melted cheese with a little bit of a kick to it, thanks to the horseradish in the cheese! Uncle Red is certainly a master of grilled cheese and I’m looking forward to his restaurant opening!
After I finished the grilled cheese sandwich off I ran smack-dab into Cherry, from the Red Barn, who is going to give birth this week! But before that child comes out, she’s going to treat him to an in-womb grilled cheese! That kid is getting spoiled already! Here’s an early congratulations to Cherry!
Strolling around I ran back into Cramer, who’s pictured here with his better half, his cute girlfriend, Abby!
Okay, we’ve sampled enough of the food, time to get a beer and head over to the main stage and check out the music. There’s still two bands left on the bill tonight.
On the way to the stage I ran into Moxie’s ReSale Boutique owner and my friend, Mollee who was hanging out with her friend Heather (on the left.) Wonderful to see both of them and Mollee’s hair is really looking cool tonight! Love the blue and green colors! Really pretty!
This is Gipsy Moon and they have a nice and different bluegrass sound because they have a cello player in the line-up over there on the far left.
I really enjoyed their set and so did...
The crowd in front of the stage!
Rachel and John were in the crowd enjoying the music. If Rachel looks familiar, you’re either a Meadows Avenue Tap regular or you remember this post from MBIP Contributing Writer, Scott Turley!
Check out Cramer and Sean on their vintage bikes cruising the area before the next band hits the stage! It brings back memories of a Cheap Trick album cover!
The last band of the evening and of the festival was The Larry Keel Experience.
Glad I got to experience this band and the second annual Heart of Illinois BBQ & Bluegrass Festival! I’m already looking forward to next year’s festival! We’ll see you all tomorrow!
Related Posts: Saturday Night BBQ @ Heart of Illinois BBQ & Bluegrass Festival, Saturday Night @ The Peoria Riverfront Museum 4th Of July BBQ Party and Lunch With...Chad Weber, host of, “You Gotta Eat” @ TT’s BBQ.