Just about every February, when my kids are beginning to tire of the snow and cold, they think to summer and immediately ask, "How long until the rib fest?" It's really a strange notion that they look forward to an event featuring a food they really could take or leave, but they do, and year after year, I notice the event getting more kid-friendly, as organizers have taken note that there are more strollers than Carter's got bibs.
Professional 'Ribbers' from the northeast gather to cook-off for the Best Ribs title at the 7th Annual Rock 'N Rib Fest held at the Anheuser Busch Factory in Merrimack, N.H., on June 19-21. Lines get long -- like 30 minutes or more long, so plan to eat whenever you see short lines on off hours. Another obvious hint, is the longer the line, usually the better the food. We take note of who's got the business, wander and roam, and then hit that rib tent when it slows some. Possibly better than the ribs, is the musical line-up this year. Continuous live music on several stages include bands for children, teens and adults. Musical acts playing the main stage throughout the weekend include Brickyard Blues, The James Montgomery Blues Band and special guest J. Geils, Jimmy’s Down, and my personal favorite, Mama Kicks. There is a very popular teen band competition on Friday, with the winner getting a chance to perform Sunday on the main stage. In addition to food and music, there are hot air balloon rides, wildlife encounters and tons of children's activities including jump houses. Tickets are just $5 with children under 8 getting in free, making it a perfect day-long activity for most families.