Eat, drink and be musical at Rock Ledge bluegrass festival Saturday

       A little less music. A little more food and drink. Aaron and Erin Youngberg dance to the music of Sweet
Sunny South at last year’s Fiddles, Vittles & Vino at Rock Ledge Ranch. The married couple, who played in ‘07 with
the Billy Pilgrims band, will be back this year with the Finders & Youngberg band. The annual event will be from 3 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23.
Westside Pioneer file photo
       Five and a half hours of live bluegrass-style music and (simultaneously) three hours of food and drink sampling will be offered for the fourth annual Fiddles, Vittles & Vino Saturday, Aug. 23 from 3 to 9 p.m. at the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site
       This contrasts with last year's eight hours of “fiddles” and two hours of “vittles and vino.”
       The city-owned 1880s-style working ranch is located off Gateway Road at 30th Street. Tickets are $40 a person ($10 for children) and can be purchased at the ranch or on line (
       As in past years, the music will be presented on two stages - one on either side of the Orchard House. Performing will be four prominent bluegrass groups - the Spring Creek Bluegrass Band, Finders & Youngberg, the Ackermans, and Sons and Brothers.
       According to the Fiddles website, food/drink samples will be available from 28 area restaurants and several liquor establishments (four from the region, plus an unknown number of wineries being lined up by Cheers Liquormart).
       Mark Gardner, who booked the four bands and helped with the overall planning, explained that the food time was extended an hour later (to 7 p.m.) because “the chefs were saying they want to stay later and do a strong food tasting.” The starting time for the music was moved back from noon last year because it was noticed that “people were not showing up early,” he said.
       However, he added that Rock Ledge has “tweaked” the schedule every year, so this year's audience response will also be gauged for the year that follows.
       A performing banjo player himself, Gardner happily reported a higher level of music appreciation at last year's Fiddles: When the food tents opened up, everyone didn't immediately desert the bands to go eat. “It wasn't like a dinner bell,” he quipped. He expects that people will also like this year's bands, because of what he described as their “eclectic, diverse” qualities. He felt especially lucky to land Spring Creek, which has been in demand since winning competitions at the Telluride and Lyons festivals last year.
       As for ticket sales, Gardner described them as “way ahead” of last year at this time.
       Activities will start with a chef's demonstration at 3 p.m. The music will kick off at 3:30 and continue until 9 p.m. In addition, there will be a chuckwagon cooking demonstration throughout the day. All activities will be in the area of the Orchard House.
       For more information, call Rock Ledge at 578-6777.
       Here is a chronological schedule (subject to change):
       3 p.m. - Chef's demonstration
       3:30 - Ice-carving demonstrations
       3:30-4:15 - The Ackermans - Pergola Stage (Orchard House, east side)
       4-4:45 - Finders & Youngberg - Peak View Stage (Orchard House, west side)
       4-7 p.m. - Food and drink in tents on either side of the Orchard House
       4:20-5:05 - Spring Creek - Pergola
       4:50-5:35 - Sons and Brothers - Peak View
       5:10-5:55 - Finders & Youngberg - Pergola
       5:40-6:25 - Spring Creek - Peak View
       6-6:45 - The Ackermans - Pergola
       6:30-7:15 - Finders & Youngberg - Peak View
       7:20-8:05 - Sons and Brothers - Peak View
       8:10-9 - Spring Creek - Peak View

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