What could be better on a sultry summer evening than messing up your fingers and face and filling your stomach with barbecue?
Barbecue is that uniquely American delicacy brought to our palates by poor folks looking for a way to jazz up the pork scraps they were provided by rich folks who kept the loins and hams for themselves. Ultimately, the rich folks' tables were poorer for their lack of imagination.
Late July is when the salivary glands of Warren County residents shift into overdrive. It's almost Pavlovian. Since the very first Ribfest where the riverfront townhouses now stand, a rib festival has been de riguere for mid-summer in Warren County.
The Ribfest is dead. Long-live the All-American BBQ Festival, which gets smokin' and saucin' today at the Warren County Fairgrounds in Pittsfield. Combined with the Regions Archery Bowhunters Pro-Am Tour event, the fairgrounds will be loaded with things to see, do and, of course, eat.
Along with the five regular vendors who have been dishing out ribs for previous Ribfest events, there will be a Kansas City Barbecue Society competition "pitting" some of the most famous names in the culinary genre for big-time prizes. Just so there's no confusion, you won't be able to buy any of the KCBS fare, but there should be more than enough to satisfy the masses from the other vendors, who will be vying for your vote in their own friendly competition.
And, if that's not enough, there were be dozens of other vendors on hand.
The festival runs today through Sunday.