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Crossborder event to wow crowds with blues, beer and barbecue

Striking a successful chord with last year's inaugural event that raised thousands for local concerns, the Crossborder Blues, Brews and Ques arrives Saturday and Sunday at the Woodcock Brothers Brewing Co., 638 Lake St.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, with continuous music featuring five blues bands, including headliner 12-Pack Jack at 6 p.m.; and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, with headliners The Nighthawks taking the stage at 4 p.m.

The earlier part of Sunday will feature young musicians from various area schools showcasing the "Blues in Schools" program, sponsored by the Blues Society of Western New York, according to event organizer Kathy O'Keefe.

A barbecue contest is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society and will draw competitors ranging from professional ranks to backyard amateurs. Several competitive divisions offer the professionals opportunities to present chicken, pork ribs, pork shoulder and beef brisket for judging.

On Sunday, those ages 16 and under may pair up with an adult to form a Backyard Junior Grilling Team to present two of four grill favorites for judging -- burgers, hot dogs, sausages or wings.

Plenty of barbecue and other food vendors will be on hand, O'Keefe said.

A total of 12 microbreweries are slated to compete in the handcrafted beer competition, which will be judged by the public.

"The public can sample the craft beers in the beer garden and will be given ballots to cast votes," O'Keefe said.

Crossborder organizers helped raise $8,000 for local youth and recreation programming with last year's event. One of the projects the event has helped sponsor is the creation of a Maritime Orienteering Trail, using GPS navigational maps to lead the way along a trail "rich with history and heritage," O'Keefe said. The trail will open in coming weeks in Wilson.

Proceeds from this year's event will help provide everything from free swim lessons at the town pool to the construction of an agility course at the new dog park.

The event is being held in the parking lot of the Woodcock Brothers Brewing Co., the site of the century-old, former Cold Storage building, which is being converted into the community's first micro-brewery. It has a tentative opening date of late fall.

Key sponsors of the Crossborder event are Sevenson Environmental Services and Atwal Eye Care, with support from the Town and Village of Wilson. Admission is $5, with children 12 and under free. For more information, visit