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Blues And Bibs Opens Concert Series
Downtown visitors listened to a blues band and chomped down on barbecued ribs as the Riverbank Blues and Bibs event opened a summer concert series in the Plaza Del Rio on Friday night.

A crowd estimated at more than a hundred people milled about the new park, eating at the tables or sitting on the plaza's low rock walls to hear the band make music.

"We didn't know how many visitors would turn up. So we only cooked ribs for 100. And they went fast," said Melissa Holdaway of the city's Economic Development Department, which combined with the Recreation Department to put on the show.

One team from the police department and another from local firefighters competed in a cook-off for the tastiest ribs. The firefighters were declared the winners by judges Mayor Virginia Madueno, Riverbank High culinary arts teacher Haley Ralston, KAT Country's Randy 'Bubba' Black and Mary Beth's Diner owner Mary Beth Fullerton.

The event was a fundraiser - more than $400 was raised - and all the proceeds go to help finance the Firefighter's Burn Institute for the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District and the Shop With A Cop program for the police department.

Among a sprinkling of booths, Toastmasters was selling sodas, Riverbank Rotary dispensing water and the city brought in an ice cream wagon.

The Blues and Bibs, an annual event, leads off a 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday night concert series that will welcome the music of Neon Watson and the Fluorescents on June 11, Rickey Barnes on June 18 and Desiree Blevins on June 25.

The Fluorescents are "a classic blues and rock band with a taste of country," according to publicity, Barnes is a classic singer of '60s and '70s music such as the Beatles, Grateful Dead, Kinks and Jimmy Buffet; and Blevins is a local country singer from Oakdale.

All concerts are free. For more information call 863-7150.