LAKE GEORGE - The mother of all parties in the North Country may be more of a blockbuster than ever, its organizers said this week.
The Lake George Arts Project's 18th annual Bands 'N Beans party is set for Sunday March 8 at Roaring Brook Ranch.
With 401k's tanking, job security eroding and weather as frigid as the economic climate, people are eagerly awaiting the uplifting renewal in spirit that the Bands-N-Beans event traditionally provides, Arts Project chief John Strong said.
"Honest to God, there's more of a buzz about this party this year than ever before," he said. "We're always confident of a good turnout, but the weather and economy have been so severe, that people are definitely ready for Spring.
More people than ever have signed up for the event's traditional chili competition this year, and there's more musicians booked to perform, he said.
This year, the music is diverse as ever, with country-rock, rhythm and blues, folk-rock and bluegrass adding variety to the signature party-rock music offered.
Two bands will be playing in two separate venues in Roaring Brook simultaneously, he said.
Annually the party features wall-to-wall people at the expansive facilities, most of them downing chili, moving to the music, and greeting each other after a winter that always seems to have been far too long.
Amateur and professional cooks annually dream up creative chili recipes to tantalize the partygoers - and unusual ingredients often take the spotlight, whether its elk, venison, partridge or ostrich meat - or merely gourmet rare chilies imported from Mexico.
Restaurants take the chili competition seriously, vying for bragging rights that will gain them renown.
Musicians this year include Chris Ballini, Rich Ortiz, Tequila Mockingbirds, No Outlet, John Kribs & Friends, Jim Gaudet and the Railroad Boys, Stony Creek Band, Alan Payette Band, Circle of Willis, Dirt Cheap and the Ramblin Jug Stompers. Yes, the latter group is a jug band that will be living up to its name, wandering through the thick crowd, Strong said.
The event includes a raffle and a silent auction featuring a variety of items from local businesses, including dinners, clothes and accommodations. Annually raising almost $18,000 for the Arts Project, the event is the non-profit group's largest fundraiser.
The money that Bands 'N Beans raises is more important than ever, Strong said, noting that the economic slump has caused municipalities to cut their support of the Project's programming.
"Like everyone else, we're facing a couple of tough years, so this fundraiser is really important for our programs," Strong said.
Admission is $20, and tickets are available at the door. For details, call 668-2616 or visit: www.lakegeorgearts.org