This week, downtown Raleigh is teeming with toe-tapping, banjo-playing bluegrass enthusiasts. Wide Open Bluegrass, held Sept. 28 and 29, is the urban bluegrass music festival that closes out the International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass week. The festival features the best of the traditional music community, including IBMA and Grammy Award winners and top-notch emerging acts. In addition to ticketed and free music shows, the event’s street festival offers extensive options for food, shopping, and entertainment. A few of our favorite options include:
The North Carolina Pork Council presents their annual BBQ Championship on Saturday, Sept. 28. This year, you have a unique opportunity to sample from each pitmaster and vote your favorite to win the People’s Choice Award. Twenty-eight competitors will vie for the coveted title.
Pitmasters start cooking Friday night on South Street between Salisbury Street and Wilmington Street, and they’ll be serving up all-you-can-eat BBQ and coleslaw starting at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.
Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 if purchased on Saturday. Proceeds will be donated to the InterFaith Food Shuttle and the IBMA Bluegrass Trust Fund. More information is available at http://www.wideopenbluegrass.com/page/BBQ.
The Norris House, a Blount Street historic home, will host a North Carolina craft distillery tasting on Sept. 28 and 29. Attendees will have an opportunity sample a variety of spirits produced in North Carolina, and representatives from the distilleries will be on hand to discuss distilling processes and history.
Participants include Bogue Sound Distillery (Bogue), Oak & Grist (Black Mountain), Oak City Amaretto (Raleigh), Old Nick Williams (Lewisville), Pinetop Distillery (Raleigh), Raleigh Rum (Raleigh) and Seven Jars Distillery (Charlotte).
If the draw of local spirits isn’t enough, they’ve partnered with two North Carolina non-profit organizations. Every ticket sold includes a donation to the North Carolina Community Foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund, which will route 100% of received funds to Hurricane Florence relief efforts. They’re also sending support to Mid-Carolina Pug Rescue to assist them in caring for dogs displaced by the storm.
Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/spirits-of-north-carolina-nc-craft-spirits-tasting-wide-open-bluegrass-tickets-50071877333. Read more about the event on the Norris House website: https://www.norris-house.com/spirits-of-nc/.
Along Fayetteville Street, between Hargett Street and Cabarrus Street, you’ll find a plethora of artisans, locally made products and food vendors known collectively as Wide Open Creations. There you can visit the Got To Be NC area and experience a showcase of unique food and agricultural products from across our great state. Got To Be NC highlights products grown, raised, caught, and made right here in North Carolina.
Wide Open Creations also offers the Wide Open Bluegrass Art Market, an intimate, juried showcase designed to recognize North Carolina’s talented and enthusiastic arts community. Shop Local Raleigh and the Greater Raleigh Merchants Association will be there as well, promoting locally owned and independent business, including clothing retailers, jewelry makers, and unique boutique shops.
For a full list of merchants, visit http://www.wideopenbluegrass.com/vendors.