The Fourth of July in Akron will be a three-day extravaganza of grillin' and groovin' on South Main Street in Downtown Akron with music from Lock 3's Akron General Stage. The Rib, White and Blue, Akron's National Rib festival will take place July 2 through 4 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Rib, White and Blue, Akron's National Rib Festival is Northeast Ohio's largest free rib burn-off, and traces its history as an annual event to 1975.
This year, eight rib vendors from four states vie for cash prizes and bragging rights in the "best of" competition. The masters of the barbeque will be coming from Texas, South Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee. Food service begins during the lunch hour July 2 and continues through the fireworks show Wednesday night.
For the third year, the Akron Symphony Orchestra will perform a July 4 pops concert with patriotic favorites and a grand fireworks finale at 9:45 p.m. at Lock 3.
Music during the festival features tributes to the Beatles and the Eagles along with two popular local bands, plus the Symphony's tribute to the legendary trumpet player Louis Armstrong.
This year's Rib, White & Blue Festival brings back Akron favorites, plus new vendors who have not participated in the burn-off previously. Returning chefs include:
• Carolina Rib King Moore S. Carolina, recipient of the 2011 Akron awards for "best sauce" and "best ribs"
• Texas Pit BBQ, Magnolia Texas
• Cowboys BBQ & Rib Company, Aledo Texas
• Old Carolina BBQ, Massillon, Ohio
• Pigfoot BBQ, West Salem, Ohio
• Smokin' Joe's BBQ, Columbus Ohio
New chefs include:
• Big Boned Barbeque Hixson, Tennessee
• Bg's Main Event Rittman, Ohio
In addition to barbequed pork and chicken favorites, the festival also features fresh roasted corn, pierogies, Italian sausage and stromboli, blossom onions, funnel cakes, birch root beer and fresh squeezed lemonade.
There will be inflatable rides for children, and the "Magical Train" will be doing tours of the Towpath along the canal. Rides are available by purchasing tickets at the site.
For more information, visit www.akronribfestival.org.