This Friday, April 5, at 4 pm, the gates will open on one of St Augustine’s most beloved annual festivals, Rhythm & Ribs. We all know St Augustine (The Town That Likes to Party) will make a festival out of anything, so why does this one matter so much?
Food and drink will be consumed, art, jewelry, and other stuff will be sold, and there’ll be plenty for the whole family to do, including stuff for the kids and live music for everyone. This sounds very much like many festivals you’ve been to, so why does this one matter so much?
On Sunday afternoon when the gates are closed and the volunteers who’ve made it happen drag themselves home to hot baths and sleep closely resembling a coma, lives will be changed. Why does this matter?
Here’s why it matters: because every moment you are enjoying award-winning barbecue, consuming soda or beer, watching your kids have fun with the activities just for them, shopping the vendors, and dancing to live music, you are helping make a difference in lives that desperately need it, from our own cherished St Augustine to places around the world most of us will never see.
The two dollars/adult you spend to get through the gates (five dollars on Saturday evening, April 6) will launch you into a world of springtime fun and fellowship created by the St Augustine Sunrise Rotary, an organization of community leaders and business owners who first gathered in 1988 because they wanted to make a difference. They wanted to change their world, and they were smart enough to combine talents and forces to do it as a group. (Because most of us are almost always better as part of a team than we are on our own.)
As much as possible of every Rhythm & Ribs dollar you spend (while you are scarfing the best barbecue around and having a mess of a good time) will benefit a long list of recipients. In 2012, the nearly $100,000 generated by this festival went to charities like The Betty Griffin House, Homeless Vets, and Pie In The Sky, Growing Hope in Hastings, FL. That’s just three. You want to see something that will blow you away, here’s the whole (long) list: 2012 Rhythm & Ribs Benefit Recipients. Go on, click. I’ll wait.
How else can you help?
Volunteer! Seriously, this festival takes a LOT of warm bodies to pull off, and every pair of hands is gratefully welcomed. Click here to find out more about volunteering. Go on, click that one too. I’ll go grab a coffee and meet you back here in a few.
By supporting the vendors at the festival, and the very long list of sponsors throughout the year, you will enable and encourage them to sponsor Rhythm & Ribs every year, and you keep the fun and the generosity moving right along! Sponsors like Bozard Ford, Canan Law, Ancient City Pediatrics, and more are the lifeblood of the festival. Sure, it takes plenty of warm bodies to make things happen (volunteers needed!!!) but your support of the adored and awesome sponsors will keep the food, fun, vendors, live music, and dancing at the Special Events Field behind the Visitor’s Center hopping every April.
And last, don’t miss the Barbecue Awards on Sunday afternoon at 2pm. Will your favorite win?
Now, go forth, and eat, drink, dance, and post your photos on Facebook on Monday. That’s another way you can help: make your friends sorry they missed Rhythm & Ribs so they’ll come to St Augustine and make the 2014 festival even bigger!