Another strong year for ranch’s ‘Fiddles’

Fiddles, Vittles & Vino at Rock Ledge Ranch July 29: Dancers keep pace with the fast bluegrass of the 23 String Band on the stage behind the Orchard House.
Westside Pioneer photo
       Occasional rain splatters failed to put a damper on the second straight sellout for the annual Fiddles, Vittles & Vino at the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site July 29.
       A total of 1,200 ticket buyers enjoyed six hours of bluegrass/folk music and ate and drank until all the food and beverages were gone in the biggest fundraiser of the year for the facility off 30th Street at Gateway Road
       “I believe it was the best year we've ever had,” said Ron Wright, president of the Living History Association, the ranch's volunteer organization. “I heard an awful lot of comments about how much fun it was.”
       Following the style of preceding years, bands played on two stages out of earshot of each other - including simultaenous performances for four of the six hours. The groups were the nationally touring 23 String Band, Red June and Monroeville, as well as the locally popular Mitguards.
       The event is unique to this area, in that area food and/or drink vendors (37 in all this year) offer their wares at no charge to Rock Ledge - seeing Fiddles as an opportunity primarily to help the city-owned, 1880s-style working ranch with its income needs and secondarily to make people aware of their places or products.
       Spearheading the organization is a restaurant consortium called Club 9, which had also worked with ranch manager Andy Morris, Wright and other LHA volunteers to get the event going in 2005.
       In the past, all the Fiddles profits have gone to the ranch, but this year 25 percent will be set aside to aid victims of the Waldo Canyon Fire. Rock Ledge still needs to fundraise for itself, but many of the fire victims lost everything and need all the help they can get, Wright said.
       Also, for the remainder of the ranch's season (Wednesday-Saturday through Aug. 18), all emergency responders and their immediate families will get free admission. “It's for helping save the ranch with all their efforts,” Wright said, in reference to the fire being halted within ¾ mile of the 230-acre property.

James Africano, the chef who has led vittlers' ranch support (through the Club 9 group he heads up) enjoys a celebratory moment.
Westside Pioneer photo

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