The smell of sizzling ribs on barbecues. The laughter of children at play. The wail of a sax floating over enthusiastic crowds: Blues, Views & BBQ Festival was back with a smokin' weekend of food and music

In past years, the festival was held at the Levitt Pavilion, but this year because of plans to build a new pavilion, the event was staged on Jesup Green and the adjacent parking lot. After "breaking in" the new venue Saturday, a second day was on tap Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Paul Gabriel got things rolling as the first performer Saturday on the main stage. Seven musical acts were scheduled to perform opening day, with the Royal Southern Brotherhood the closing headliner. On Sunday, Petey Hop was be the kickoff act, Popa Chubby a highlight about 4 p.m. and Cactus set to close the festivities.

Besides the music, a Kids Corral featured inflatable amusements, a mechanical bull ride, hula hoops, magicians, facepainters, karate demos and tattoos. Vendors and food trucks offered fare for the older set.

On Saturday, CT Bites sponsored cooking demonstrations by area chefs -- Helton Dasilva of Barcelona, Matt Storch of Match and The Chelsea, Fritz Knipschildt of Chocopologie, Pietro Scotti of Da Pietro's and Judy Roll of Tabouli Grill. A similar program was planned Sunday, with the chefs from Saugatuck Craft Butchery, Nicholas Robert Gourmet Bistro, Bonda, the Spread and Bar Q.

School of Rock house band performances, as well as pie- and rib-eating contests, rounded out the entertainment.

A popular draw was the Cookin' For a Cause KCBS Amateur Barbeque Competition, with 25 entrants testing their best grilling talents for blue-ribbon honors. One colorful group, preparing spectacular glazed ribs, was the Big Boys BBQ team. The four partners, -- Phil Ferrigon, Scott Kessler, Matt Stevens and Jason Canell -- who are bankers by day, tip the scales at a combined 1,200 pounds. Dressed in blazing orange shirts with nicknames on the back like Bigg Phill, the fearsome yet congenial foursome were dishing out the goods with good-natured gusto.

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