Chefs from area restaurants dish out servings of their distinctive varieties of chili during the 2012 Bands 'N Beans event — sponsored by the Lake George Arts Project.
What started out 21 years ago as a local get-together of friends of the arts — a party spiced with mountain music and down-home food — grew over two decades into an annual orgy of music, dancing and chili that surpasses superlatives.
In recent years, Bands ‘N Beans — crowned as northern New York’s “mother of all parties,” has featured wall-to wall people primed to have a great time as they celebrate the end of winter.
This landmark fest of homegrown music and creative chili is to be held from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday March 3, at Roaring Brook Ranch — its traditional site.
For 2013, Bands ‘N Beans — a fundraiser for the Lake George Arts Project — features nine bands performing on two stages. Selected by musicians, the bands represent a wide range of rock genres.
About 50 restaurants and individuals have registered to cook up chili for the event, which now draws 1,000 people or more.
For many years, the Stony Creek Band and other regional acclaimed bands have packed the house and definitely rocked it too. The music ranges from country-rock, rhythm and blues, to folk-rock and bluegrass as well as hard-driving party rock.
For 2013, Stony Creek Band is back with a talented, eclectic lineup that includes Rich Ortiz & Friends, Big Fez & the Surfmatics, Rattail Jimmy, Master Cylinders, Shadowland, Chris Ballini, Rick Rourke, and Tim Wechgelaer & Friends.
The event’s chili is annually tantalizing and creative as professional chefs and outstanding cooks vie for awards and bragging rights.
The recipes, as diverse as the music onstage, have included rare varieties of chili peppers and unusual spices and meats and spices — including ostrich, elk and venison.
Raising up to $20,000 each year for the Arts Project, the event includes a raffle and a silent auction featuring a variety of items from local businesses.
Last year’s chili contest award winners were Giovanna’s at the Georgian Resort in Lake George; Market Place Steakhouse and Frederick’s Restaurant, both of Bolton Landing; Vic's Tavern of Northville; and UpRiver Cafe of Lake Luzerne.
They’ll be defending their titles against new entries from the Barnsider BBQ, Bean's Country Store, Bella's, Bogey's Pub & Grille, Caffe Vero, Center Plate at Gore Mtn., Davidson's Restaurant, Docksider Restaurant, Druther's Brewing Co., Duffy's Tavern, Dunham’s Bay Lodge, East Cove Restaurant, Garnet Hill Lodge, Gourmet Café, Log Jam Restaurant, Melba Mae's Riverview Inn, Olde Post Grille, O'Toole's Restaurant, Pete’s Ahh, Ranchero's Steakhouse, Samantha's Café, Sans Souci, among others.
The event includes a raffle and a silent auction featuring a variety of items from local businesses. Raising up to $20,000 per year for the Arts Project, the event is the non-profit group's largest fundraiser, Arts Project Director John Strong said.
"People just love getting out and seeing each other again after a long winter," he said. “The event now has a life of its own.”
Admission is $20, and tickets are available at the door. For details, call 668-2616 or visit: www.lakegeorgearts.org
caption: Chefs of area restaurants dish out servings of their distinctive varieties of chili during the 2012 Bands 'N Beans event — sponsored by the Lake George Arts Project.
Photo by Cheri Bordelon, Creative Gumbo Photography