W.C. Handy Blues & Barbecue Festival to Kick Off June 11

Weeklong Free Events to Include Music, Parade, Community Events

The Henderson Music Preservation Society is proud to present the 21st Annual W.C. Handy Blues & Barbecue Festival during the week of June 11-18, 2011 in downtown Henderson, Ky. Over 20 blues performances are scheduled during a weeklong celebration that includes a Street Strut Peoples Parade, The Taste of Henderson Barbecue, Zydeco Night with Red Beans and Rice, and other events. As part of one of the largest free music festivals in the country, Handy events are all offered free of admission.

This year the festival was named one of the Top 20 Events in the Southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society and a Top 10 Summer Event by the Kentucky Travel Industry Association. 

Schedule of Major Festival Events:

Saturday, June 11 – Taste of Henderson Barbecue
10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. in Central Park, downtown Henderson, Ky.
Local barbecue teams will be cooking up mouth-watering barbecue of mutton, chicken and pork for sale to attendees beginning at 10:00 a.m. until sold out. Music will also be wafting in the cool park air. Artists scheduled to perform are Bob Minnette and The Dixieland Society, “Blind Dog” Gatewood and The King Bees.

Saturday, June 11 – Street Strut Peoples Parade
10:00 a.m. beginning in Central Park
All are invited to participate in the Mardi-Gras style parade in downtown Henderson. Prizes will be awarded to the best strutter, most spirited strutter, best decorated umbrella and best business group.

Monday-Thursday, June 13-16 – Handy Lunch Breaks

11:45 a.m. at local Henderson eateries

Enjoy live music as you dine in one of Henderson’s many local restaurants. From coffee houses to steakhouses, you’ll find a match up of food and music to delight your tastebuds and your ears. See www.handyblues.org for a full listing of Handy Lunch Breaks schedules. Free admission.

Wednesday, June 15 – Red, White & Blues Night
5:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. in Audubon Mill Park.
The main music portion of the festival begins on the Henderson riverfront. Fabulous view of the Ohio River, cool breezes, plenty of shade and some of the best blues musicians around. Scheduled performers are the The Cold Stares, Amazing Soul Crackers and Preston Shannon. Free admission.

Thursday, June 16 – Zydeco Night with Red Beans & Rice
5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. in Audubon Mill Park
The Handy Committee will be serving up red beans & rice, andouille sausage and other Cajun favorites. Scheduled performers are Dennis Stroughmatt and Creole Stomp, Terrance Simien & The Zydeco Experience and Matt Schofield. Come early for the food and stay late for high energy zydeco music. Free admission.

Friday, June 17 – Riverbank Blues Blast
Noon to midnight in Audubon Mill Park
All day music in a beautiful relaxing venue, featuring Damon Fowler, Beasley Band, Mightychondria, The Deanna Bogard Band, Guitar Shorty and Dana Fuchs Concessions available. Free admission.

Saturday, June 18 – Taste of Henderson Barbecue Cook-Off
Noon to midnight in Audubon Mill Park
All day music in a shady park overlooking the Ohio River, featuring Damon Fowler, Eden Brent, Lionel Young Band, Carolyn Wonderland, The Dynamites abd Hign Primer with special guest, Lurrie Bell and Eddie Shaw. Concessions available. Free admission.

For a complete listing of festival events, go to www.handyblues.org or pick up a free festival guide at the Henderson Visitor’s Center.

About the Henderson Music Preservation Society:
Founded to support the W.C. Handy Blues & Barbecue Festival in 1991, The Henderson Music Preservation Society, Inc. is tax-exempt, non-profit organization. The society, generous corporate and individual sponsors, as well as volunteers, help keep the W.C. Handy Blue & Barbecue Festival free and open to everyone.

About the W.C. Handy Blues & Barbecue Festival:
Now in its 21st year, W.C. Handy Blues & Barbecue Festival has become one of the largest free music festivals in the nation, drawing attendants from almost every state and many countries. The event is a celebration of the life and legacy of Henderson resident and “Father of the Blues,” William Christopher Handy. For more information about the festival go to www.handyblues.org or call 1-800-648-3128.