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Blues, Barbecue And Good Times At Westport Fest

WESTPORT, Conn. – Blues bands jammed on the main stage and 23 cooking teams barbecued chicken and ribs Saturday as families enjoyed the fifth annual Blues, Views & Barbecue Festival on the grounds of the Levitt Pavilion and the Westport Public Library.

The event, which was scheduled to continue until 10 p.m. Saturday and again from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, features a collection of blues all-star acts.

“The music is extraordinary. It rocks and makes you want to get up and dance,” said Dave Neal, a Virginia resident who attended the event with Charlotte Malpeso of Westport.

As Roxy Perry and her band played their set Saturday afternoon, Siobahn Clancy Horan from Clasp Homes, a Westport organization that operates group homes for adults with autism and developmental disabilities, grilled food for the cooking contest being judged by the Kansas City Barbecue Society. Horan prepared roasted chicken stuffed with oranges, onion and garlic; ribs with a “secret sauce”; and paninis.

Kids played on slides and enjoyed rides and other activities. Mary Kay Caricato, of Westport, lined up with her 3-year-old daughter, Josie, for face painting, sponsored by Manhattan Performing Arts.

“We came for the kids events,” Caricato said. “She was jumping up and down on the bouncy horse.”

Michele Carlo, a face painter, said, “Kids request their own designs or say 'surprise me.'”

Cathy Colgan, events producer for the sponsoring Westport Downtown Merchants Association, said 10,000 people may attend the event, which raises money for local non-profits.

“The weather’s great and we’ve never held it on Labor Day weekend before, so we may set a record,” she said.

Admission is $20 for adults and $10 for seniors and children, with kids younger than 5 free. Early birds catch a break — the rates are $10 for adults and $5 for seniors and kids for entry before 2 p.m.

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