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Hot Club of Cowtown (from left), Whit Smith, Elana James and Jake Ervin, perform on the main stage as the closing act at the 11th annual Fiddles, Vittles & Vino at the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site July 26.

Photo essay: Fifth straight Fiddles & Vittles sellout for Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site July 26

Youngsters at Fiddles & Vittles have a blast on the grass while a band plays nearby on the Pergola Stage (located on the back side of the Orchard House).
       Bracketed by rainstorms before and after but sunny throughout, the 11th annual Fiddles, Vittles & Vino picked and grinned its way to its fifth straight sellout July 26 at the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site.
       The 6-hour bluegrass-based affair again featured close to 40 businesses donating food and beverages for ticket-buyers' consumption, along with continual entertainment (after the first hour) by four contracted bands from in and out of Colorado.
       According to Ron Wright, president of the ranch's volunteer Living History Association, all 1,200 tickets were sold. He added that, including bands, food vendors and related support crews, a total of 2,092 people actually came through the gates.
       The event is a major fundraiser for the 1880s-style working ranch off 30th Street and Gateway Road. It's owned by the city, but needs grants, donations and dozens of volunteers to keep going, offering a summer season with regular hours and various special events.
       Wright and Mark Gardner, an author, musician and Rock Ledge volunteer who lines up the Fiddles bands every year, commented that there had been considerable consternation early July 26 as sometimes-heavy rains - contrary to the forecast - pelted down throughout the morning and into the afternoon. But shortly before the event's 2 p.m. starting time, the skies cleared and stayed that way through the closing set by Hot Club of Cowtown, the headline three-piece swing-and-jazz band from Austin, Texas.
       Other bands, each of which played two or three sets earlier in the day, were Songs of the Fall (hailing from Pagosa Springs and Nashville), Caribou Mountain Collective (a quartet from Nederland that won last year's RockyGrass competition in Lyons) and the Stanleytones (a five-piece from Mead that previously played at Fiddles in 2005, 2006 and 2010).
       For roughly half the event, two stages (the main one in front of the ranch's Orchard House and the Pergola Stage behind it) were going simultaneously.
       Above, left and below are Westside Pioneer photos taken during the event.
LEFT: John Hulett, a Rock Ledge Ranch staffer/ranch hand, cooks corn on the cob the old-fashioned way, providing a historic touch to Fiddles, Vittles & Vino. Meanwhile, with the ranch's Orchard House as a backdrop, the crowd watches a band (not shown) on the main stage. RIGHT: Fiddles attendees enjoy food samples from a vendor under one of several tents that were erected for that purpose. All the food and drink was donated for the fundraiser.
The Stanleytones, a Colorado band that plays traditional bluegrass, were performing in their fourth Fiddles&Vittles (previous years were 2005, 2006 and 2010).
LEFT: Emily Spotted Wolf (left) and her granddaughter, Calli Loren Sherry All Red Spotted Wolf, staff the teepee that was put up during Fiddles&Vittles as a reminder of the historical heritage at Rock Ledge Ranch. Spread out on the floor in front of them are various toys and domestic implements that American Indians made from animals, wood and other natural sources. RIGHT: Songs of the Fall, an amplified quartet, was led by Cia Cherryholmes and Stetson Adkisson.
LEFT: Three of the four members of Caribou Collective, a bluegrass band from Nederland, Colorado, perform on the Pergola Stage. They also played a set on the main stage. RIGHT: An "artsy" shot shows the arm of a grill chef for one of the close to 40 vendors at Fiddles & Vittles, using water spray to tone down the flames under the brats he's cooking. In the background can be seen people getting food samples under one of the tents.
As sunset falls over Rock Ledge Ranch, Hot Club of Cowtown performs the closing set for the crowd on the main stage at Fiddles, Vittles & Vino July 26.

Westside Pioneer article and photos
(Posted 7/27/15; Outdoors: Rock Ledge Ranch)

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