By Peter Zuniga, Correspondent
The kickoff party for the “Belton’s Bacon, Blues and Brews” festival happened on Friday, Oct. 5, while the main event was on Saturday near the Belton City Courthouse. It featured live music, food trucks, local breweries, and a number of supporting organizations and businesses, which all lined the streets that had been blocked off the by the Belton Police Department.
H-E-B Plus! from Belton, and Indian Motorcycle of Fort Hood showed up. The latter brought a full-range of their motorcycles. According to Devin Francis, an Indian Motorcycle employee who was present, the company may relocate to Belton.
At each festival, Belton City involves a charity organization. United Way of Central Texas became a partner this year. At the kickoff party, they sold tickets to people wishing to vote on a favorite team for the cook-off, which happened at the main festival. The prize for winning that cook-off was $2,000.
“The theme of our t-shirts is ‘You had me at bacon’…” Judy Garrett, Tourism and Retail Development Coordinator for Belton City, said. “…when I started mentioning it to people last year, about we were having a “Bacon, Blues and Brews” festival, they would always say ‘You had me at bacon…’”
While Garrett did mention the tough competition between events for that night, she was well pleased with the turnout. Families, UMHB students and even Temple residents made an appearance.
Evan Duncan, Teaching Pastor at First Baptist Church Temple, attended with his wife, young child and dog. While explaining their reason for coming, Duncan said, “The Blues music, mostly. We like food trucks too, and it was a place we could bring our baby and our dog, and listen to some live music…”
Meanwhile, on a stage set up beside the Belton City Courthouse, W.C. Clark, known as “The Godfather of Austin Blues”, performed an upbeat concert with his band, that had people up and dancing.
“It’s been awesome,” Duncan said. “These guys are super talented. It’s really fun to watch. They’re really good.”
Before W.C. Clark played, the Lone Star Brass Band, from the 1st Cavalry Division Band out of Fort Hood, played an hour-long set. All of their members are active duty soldiers, and as Staff Sergeant Michael Blue of the band, said, “We are full-time soldiers and also full-time musicians.”
Lone Star Brass Band plays at festivals, schools, clinics and for a variety of community outreaches. “Where ever we can make some impact, then that’s where we’ll be,” Sergeant Blue said.
From classic ‘70s dance songs to the “Cupid Shuffle”, the band maintained a high level of crowd interaction, at a point, involving line dancing.
Overall, Garrett best described the festival kickoff. “Everybody loves bacon. Everybody loves the blues. Most people like brews. Everybody loves Belton.”
Photos by Christopher Winston.