River Roots Live & Rib Fest Draw Big Crowds - FOX 18 Quad Cities News and Weather

River Roots Live & Rib Fest Draw Big Crowds

Posted: Updated:

It's a big weekend for downtown Davenport, with a number of big events going on. Twenty thousand people or more are expected to come out for this year's River Roots music festival and Rib Fest.

The music started around 5 o'clock Friday, and the crowds grew enormously from then on.

Friday night's headliners are the BoDeans and Shooter Jennings. Saturday's headliners are Vintage Trouble and the Wallflowers.

In all, 17 bands will be playing this weekend, offering plenty of good music for a variety of tastes.

But, River Roots Live is not the only attraction at LeClaire Park this weekend.

Earlier in the day Friday, it was the food that was taking center stage.

"We're here with the best of the best BBQ cookers. We travel the country with each other," said Jon Apelt, General Manager of Texas Thunder, one of several ribs vendors who have set up shop at LeClaire Park this weekend.

It's Rib Fest 2013.

The annual event kicked off at 11 o'clock Friday morning - and runs along side River Roots Live throughout the weekend. That's been the case since the two festivals merged in 2007.

"And it's gone over really really well. We're very happy with how it's worked out, and the Quad Cities has certainly embraced us," said Kyle Carter, Executive Director of Downtown Davenport Partnership, the group that organizes the event.

"You know next year will be 10 years for River Roots Live, which is hard to believe," he added.

And, whether people are coming for the food and staying for the music or the other way around, this year is already shaping up to be one of the best years for this event.

"The weather's great, we're ready to serve these great people of Davenport. So we're here to conquer," said Solomon Williams, owner of Carolina Rib King.

It is a competition between these rib vendors, with several titles on the line this weekend.

Expectations are high:

"People is what we're here for. People's choice is one trophy that we really want," Apelt said.

"Meet a lot of people satisfy a lot of people and hopefully we can take the title home," said Williams.

And, while it's a lot of finger-licking fun - For these guys, Rib Fest is serious business:

"One thing about me - my living's on the line, so my grillin' is fine," Williams said.

Sales this year have been so far so good.

"We've had a lot of traffic through and people are buying their ribs and coming here to get their Kona ice to go with it," Carol Labrum, who was making and Kona Ice at Rib Fest, explained.

With good business, good food, and good music, the weekend festival was a real crowd pleaser even before the first act took the stage.

"This is our first time," Pat Pfeifle, of Clinton, said.

"It's awesome. We aren't going to miss another one," Don Pfeifle added.

The fun continues through midnight on Friday, and starts up again at 11 o'clock Saturday morning.

Admission to River Roots and Rib Fest is five dollars in the evening. But, it's free before 5 p.m.

Powered by WorldNow