Rib White and Blue: National Ribfest 2016
Fourth of July weekend the sky turned every shade of perfect. Across the land, America witnessed pure beauty as the July moon damn near failed to make its presence beneath the purples, hot pinks, and deep blues of the summer evening sky. Some were witnessing the slowing sunset in places they knew and loved with the closest of their friends by their side. Some were among a new scene experiencing a brand new American moment with complete strangers as each breath grew ever exhilarating.
I was the latter.
Akron, Ohio - described to me as the most regular, standard city in America (read exceptionally average) - was invigorated with explosive guitar riffs popularized by the hairstyles from a generation ago. Long, commercial, festival prepped grills brightly adorning their cross-country accomplishments flared the edges of Main Street (aka King James Way) as wafts of hickory smoke seared the sizzling proteins failing to cling to their rib bones. Immediately your senses were lathered with the potent zestful musk of award winning, skillfully smothered BBQ.
For the unsuspecting, the perfect spontaneity of this American moment drenched me w/ giddiness.
Perhaps standard (read dulling) in the midday of your average Monday - my first time experiencing the Rubber City earlier that week, Akron changed and now was a thrilling place to be for an atypical July 4th weekend affair. Of course you could have scurried over to Cleveland or any other big city within Akron's reach. But the 41st Annual Rib White and Blue National Rib Festival commanded its own presence in this perfectly standard little big town. The city center bustled, the beer flowed, the brown napkins never stopped working to remove leftover excellence from the mouths of hungry Ohioans proud to shout 'Go Cavs!' between each and every bite. The Bon Jovi cover band, Slippery When Wet, blazed the stage with every ounce of glory and I am certain their perfectly spiked hair still remains unfallen. The music remained as the sun fell late, late into the evening and the lights from the grill stands became the main source of light. 'Im Home' a building sized Lebron James banner proclaimed as he kissed his most necessary championship trophy. I caught myself peering up at that banner only to be drawn down by the locals smiling ever more vigorously than that enlarged face of LBJ. This was their moment, too.
Beyond the trophies, or the food, the jams, or the dance moves, this was american perfection. Moments of simplicity, people loving people, an atmosphere you want to rewind. I was a part of their perfect little night, and maybe unaware, just as they were of mine. This is the life we live and come to love, full of candid instances that 'ought to shine.
Ribfest was a complete spectacle, perfectly contrived. And for this unsuspecting tourist, unknowingly late to the Main Street scene, looking to live a rare moment in an unfamiliar location witnessed this rocking and ribbing out city lighten up like the beautiful American Standard (benchmark) that Akron truly is.