‘Fantastic’ Fiddles at Rock Ledge

       With four bands, plenty to eat and drink, clear skies and (later on) nearly a full moon, close to 750 people enjoyed the third annual Fiddles, Vittles & Vino at Rock Ledge Ranch Aug. 25.
Attendees at Rock Ledge Ranch’s Fiddles, Vittles and Vino
stroll among the food and drink tents on the lawn west of the Orchard House.
Westside Pioneer photo
The members of Sweet Sunny South, one of the four bands
at this year's “Fiddles,” swing together on a song during their evening set.
Westside Pioneer photo
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       While the number of attendees stayed about the same as the first two years', “the people who were here had a fantastic time,” said ranch manager Andy Morris. “There was great food, great wine, great weather and a great setting.”
       The nine-hour event featured multiple performances by bands playing bluegrass, honky-tonk, country and even jazz tunes. The featured band was Flexigrass, led by the nationally known Pete “Dr. Banjo” Wernick. Others were Sweet Sunny South, from Paonia; the Billy Pilgrims, from Fort Collins; and Palmer Divide, from the Pikes Peak region. There were also informal performances by area “pickers” Tom and Carol Beedle and Rex Rideout.
       Close to 30 food booths and another 20 or offered alcholic samples. Other entertainment included ice sculpturing and chef cooking demonstrations.
       The event is meant to be a fundraiser for the city-owned ranch. Labor costs are kept down through volunteer assistance from the ranch's Living History Association (LHA). Morris expressed his appreciation to the LHA for this help.
       He said emphatically that “Fiddles” will be back in 2008. But he believes broader advertising might be needed to increase attendance at an event he believes is unique for its food, drink and music combination. The Denver and Pueblo areas are really not that far away, he observed: “It's not like driving to San Diego or something.”
       The cost of Fiddles tickets have gone up each year, from $25 the first year to $40 this year. Toni Miller, secretary of the LHA, said she wasn't sure if that has had an effect on attendance. Her personal observation this year was that all attendees seemed satisfied with how things went, in contrast to the first year when the food ran out and last year when it rained part of the day.

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