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Blues and BBQ cooks up a socially distant alternative

By the North Liberty Blues and BBQ Committee

NORTH LIBERTY– It’s been two months since North Liberty Blues and BBQ organizers announced a decision to cancel the 2020 in-person edition of North Liberty Blues and BBQ presented by Veridian Credit Union due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, but fans of the festival can still have a taste of Blues and BBQ at home. The planning committee cooked up alternative plans to make it easy for small groups to celebrate the event’s 14th year with responsible backyard barbecue parties (following all recommended CDC and state guidelines for gathering sizes and physical distancing at the time July 11 rolls around, of course).
Show support for the festival, local restaurants, and artists by ordering a shirt, tuning in to the Blues and BBQ internet radio station, crafting with the kids, participating in the virtual Turkey Trot, biting into mouthwatering barbecue, and quenching that thirst with brews from local breweries.
Even if 17,000 people cannot gather in one park, music can still bring everyone together. On July 11, North Liberty Blues and BBQ will air an internet radio station. The 12-hour stream includes tracks from artists attendees would see on stage this year, past festival headliners, blues-inspired music, as well as interviews with artists and Blues and BBQ committee members. The station streams from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, July 11. Fans can tune in at any point during the broadcast and find comfort in knowing they are sharing an experience with other North Liberty Blues and BBQ fans, even if this year looks different. To listen, download the free Blues and BBQ app in the Apple Store or Google Play, or stream the station, on July 11, at northlibertyblues.org.
This year’s stroll down food vendor alley is a drive (or bike ride) for takeout from a local establishment. The festival partners with North Liberty restaurants Jimmy Jack’s Rib Shack and Mosley’s Barbecue and Provisions to offer Blues and BBQ family-style takeout specials. Pre-orders are encouraged through northlibertyblues.org.
And because the craft beer selection at the festival is a staple, fans can add a mixed six-pack of local craft beer to their Jimmy Jack’s or Mosley’s food order. The six-packs include cans from Iowa Brewing Company, Backpocket Brewing, ReUnion Brewery, Lion Bridge Brewing Company, Big Grove Brewery, and Sutliff Cider Company.
The bounce houses and inflatable rides will be missed this summer, but the arts and crafts kids look forward to each year are not canceled. Blues and BBQ is giving away 200 free craft kits for kids to make their own guitar, rock star sunglasses and a microphone. All the kits were reserved quickly and are no longer available, but several Blues and BBQ coloring sheet pages are available for download at northlibertyblues.org.
The North Liberty Community Pantry’s 9th Annual Thanksgiving in July Turkey Trot, traditionally taking place the morning of Blues and BBQ, is going virtual. Participants can complete a 10K, 5K or 1-Mile route at any time during the month of July and report their results online. Registration is a $20 donation to the pantry. Participants can also purchase a shirt for $10 and a specialty headband for $8. Runners are also invited to increase their donation to the panty by creating a fundraising profile to collect funds from family and friends. Learn more and register at northlibertycommunitypantry.org.
Blues and BBQ is also partnering with the North Liberty Community Pantry to make sure each component of the alternative event is accessible to everyone. The festival will provide food and craft kits for pantry families that day. If you would like to help, too, donate at https://bit.ly/FeedANeighbor.
North Liberty Blues and BBQ presented by Veridian Credit Union 2020 is still generously supported by Veridian Credit Union, GreenState Credit Union, Junge Ford BMW of North Liberty, South Slope Cooperative Communications, GEICO Cares, MidWestOne Bank, Shive-Hattery, North Liberty Optimists, FOX Engineering, Great Western Bank, Think Iowa City, Hills Bank and Trust Company, US Bank, Port O Jonny, KCRG, Locals Love Us, KZIA, Little Village, North Liberty Leader, Johnson County Refuse, The Englert Theatre, Eco Care, ICAN and the City of North Liberty.