Barbecue, Zydeco coming to fairgrounds in Mariposa

Sun-Star correspondentSeptember 21, 2012 

For some, it's an annual pilgrimage.

Barbecue chefs from all over California and nearby Western states bring their grills and award-winning recipes to compete for cash prizes.

Zydeco bands make the trip to Mariposa for the sole purpose of entertaining crowds with their unique sound.

For others, the attraction is the annual benefit that raises money to provide additional medical equipment for a rural hospital.

And for local residents, it's a break from the workweek, a chance to enjoy some exceptional barbecue and satisfying music.

It's time once again for the Blazin' Hog Barbecue and Zydeco Festival. On Saturday, the food, music and fun will take place at the Mariposa County Fairgrounds.

Rudy Mensinger, festival director for the foundation, and his committee work hard every year to organize this popular event.

Barbecued tri-tip, pork ribs and chicken are on the competition menu. Individuals, couples, groups, clubs, families and friends come from all over the West to cook just for the fun of it.

On stage, the opening act will be Good Medicine, featuring Debbie and Frank Sipes, who have been making music together for close to 20 years. Their folkadelic sound, they say, is a combination of blues, folk, rock, country, jam and any other style they want to add to the mix. The Sipes are residents of North Fork.

Jeff Hallock sometimes joins them on the harmonica and with vocals. Mark Albosta is the drummer. This group is a local favorite in the Central Sierra mountain towns.

Two popular bands are returning to Mariposa this weekend: the Blues Box Bayou Band from Sonora and Mark St. Mary and his Zydeco Band from the Bay Area.

The BBBB consists of brothers Pete (accordion and vocals) and Frank (guitar) Grimaldi, Julie Johnson (bass), Jimi Hildreth (rub board) and Peter DeMattos (drums). They've earned a very loyal fan base, by performing all over Northern and Central California. Their blend of American roots music with Cajun, Zydeco and blues keeps audiences happy and on their feet.

Mark St. Mary is a self-taught musician. Performing since age of 15, his greatest pleasure is pleasing people with his mix of Cajun, Zydeco, French and Creole music with down-home blues and R&B. This has earned him the nickname "Delta King." His group was voted Best Zydeco Band of 2007 by Bay Area Blues Society.

During the afternoon, Cleo Home will be on the dance floor giving complimentary group-dance lessons.

Food and beverage booths as well as arts and crafts vendors will be set up.

General admission is $15, seniors $10, ages 5 to 17 get in for $5, and ages under 5 are free with an adult admission. Gates open at noon and parking is free. The fairgrounds is on Highway 49, about 1.5 miles south of downtown Mariposa.

Debbie Croft writes about life in the foothill communities. She can be reached at composed@tds.net.

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