Since 1993, the signature summer event for Stevenson has been Brews Blues & BBQs, traditionally held the Saturday after Father's Day each year.
This rollicking opener to the season will continue with some big news in 2011. The name has officially been changed to Gorge Blues & Brews Festival.
And, also new this year will be a free Friday night "Waterfront Jam." Everything takes place at the Skamania County Fairgrounds in Stevenson on June 24 and 25.
On Friday, June 24, the gates will open at 6 p.m. with free admission. The American Legion will have a beer trailer set up and two bands will light up the stage.
The "Rich Wilkins Blues Band" starts the night off at 7 p.m. followed by "Jackbone Dixie."
The sun will shine as the gates open at noon on Saturday, June 25. Live music continues all day and on into the evening, until 10 p.m. Featured entertainment includes "The Knuckleheads," "Lloyd Jones Struggle" and headliners "Smokin' Joe Kubek and B'Nois King." In between each band's set, the mic will be open for local musicians.
Following the lead of Stevenson's own award winning Walking Man Brewing, an interesting assemblage of Northwest craft brewers have agreed to set up shop for the day. The list includes Laht Neppur, Full Sail, Hopworks Urban Brewery, Ninkasi, Migration, Salmon Creek, Alameda, Dick's Brewing, Big Horse Ales, Roslyn Brewing Company, Double Mountain, Lompoc, Everybody's, Big Al and Snipes Mountain.
In addition, eight Gorge wineries including Erin Glenn, Springhouse Cellar, Viento, Naked Winery, Ziegler, Domaine Pouillon and Mt. Defiance will be pouring their varietals.
The food selection is sure to please with barbecue goodies from pulled pork sandwiches to ribs and everything in between, grilled salmon, gyros, kettle corn, elephant ears, baked potatoes, burritos, wraps, espresso drinks, smoothies -- even deep-fried macaroni and cheese!
Another new addition in 2011 is a child care area. Local pre-school provider, Child of Mine, will offer its services during the festival. Crafts and snacks will be included for just $10 (children under 2.5 years) and $7 for kids over 2.5. Entry into and out of the child care zone will be closely monitored.
For the fifth year, an addition to Gorge Blues & Brews Festival will be a wide variety of arts and craft booths. Local and not-so-local artists will set up in the event area adjacent to the main stage.
Admission is $15 per person and includes a glass beer mug or wine glass. Children 12 years and under are free. Drink tokens are available for purchase at $1 each for tasting or a full mug.