For the 4 years we have lived in Ohio, we’ve wanted to go to the Jazz & Rib Fest every summer. Unfortunately we’ve been out-of-town every year until this year. So finally we went as part of our staycation summer!
The verdict: we will never go again. The reason: not family friendly enough and tainted by religion.
Let’s discuss the food first. I don’t know the difference between Tennessee barbecue and Texas barbecue (and I lived in Texas!) but it all tastes good to me. However the lines are long. It was a hot day and the lines to the water and lemonade were even longer (and expensive fresh lemonade at $5 per cup and they didn’t do refills with that plastic cup they gave us).
We used one of the grassy areas as our “home base” so that Jolie could run around and play a little while one of us went and stood in line for food, which brings me to why that didn’t work either…
The religion. I love that I live in a country that freedom of speech is not a privilege but a right, but I believe there is a time and a place and this was not either. There was one man standing in front of one of the larger grassy areas (where we were) preaching to us with his big sign about how everyone was going to hell and he was there to save us.
I could try to ignore him but he was loud and Jolie really didn’t understand why there was this strange man yelling at everyone.
The worst part… a girl who could not have been more than 20 years old walked by with her male friend, a good 20 feet away from the man, and she must have shrugged while talking to her friend. The man called her out and told her to look at how she was dressed because she was “inviting all that sexual sin upon herself” and that she was going to hell. How dare he. This tall, beautiful, probably college-aged girl was dressed perfectly fine for the weather – shorts and a tank top. And what’s more who gave him the right to speak to anyone that way?
Needless to say we moved on as soon as we were done eating. On our way to vote on the best food I overheard people complaining to the Staff onsite and they said there was nothing they could do. I think the event was ruined for a good many people who had to sit there and listen.
And finally, the politics. We were asked a few times as we walked around if we were registered to vote. We are and simply replied yes and kept walking. However, on our way out one woman who asked us if we’re registered to vote also asked us if we were Obama fans. Turns out, First Lady Michelle Obama was going to be visiting our area and they had free tickets for us to go see her. We just had to stop by one of their offices and pick them up. So we did.
However, after all that Jolie and I ended up not going. Turns out we couldn’t bring a bag into the building that the First Lady was visiting due to security. I’m just not exactly sure how to bring a toddler that is not potty trained somewhere without a bag… especially knowing we were going to have to stand in line and potentially wait for 3 hours. So I decided I couldn’t do it. It was a nice thought though!
Needless to say, even without the crazy fanatic I don’t think we will go to this festival again. It was too crowded and not family friendly enough for our overall needs. There were lots of families there so my guess is it is possible to go but you know what they say, the first impression is the one that lasts. No thank you!