As of roughly 4 p.m. today, the hills are officially alive with the sound of music.
In addition to the music they are also alive with the sound of 100,000 country music fans partying, 80,000 coolers rolling, 60,000 squirt bottles squirting, and no less than 2,000,000 beer tops cracking.
Phew! Talk about making some noise!
Along Rt. 40, sprinkled throughout the Jamboree site, and nestled in the campgrounds, food vendors of all types will be making some noise of their own, because no party on Earth - especially not the Super Bowl of Country Music - could ever be complete without a variety of good eats.
And the Taste Buds are ever grateful, as they will be sure to hit up several key locations during the four day festival.
First up is the really good stuff that reels you in right off the exit. Not even to the event yet and the smokey barbecue smells will have you on a hook. We are speaking of Houston Chicken and Country Boy Barbecue, so help us God.
Whoa nelly are these suckers good. They set up camp around the Sunoco station off of Exit 213. They are each prepared differently and are each divine in their own way. You can plan to spend about 8 bucks per chicken, and they are worth every penny.
Houston's chickens are seasoned and roasted on spits in the open air, in fact, you can see the smoke from the highway signaling their location. As a result of the process the skin is dark and charred on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside. These birds are amazing. While you're there grab a bag of the dinner rolls - they are to die for! We couldn't find a phone number for Houston's so you'll have to just ride on out. It's definitely worth the gas.
Country Boy's birds are prepared in a smoke house. We're not sure what exactly goes on in there but what comes out is phenomenal. Juicy and full of flavor, we are nuts about his chickens! Country Boy's permanent location is in Bannock and they can be reached at 740-968-3915. Simply amazing!
Either of these barbecue gurus are sure to be a great place to stop on your way to the party.
Another local favorite, Kristie's Lil Grove, will also be catering to the masses at Jamboree In The Hills. We were delighted to feature their wonderful chicken and ribs in this column before and can't think of enough good things to say about them! This year at JITH, they will be located in the Fine Day Campground, accessible by Visnic Road. If you don't catch them at Jambo, it is handy to know that their regular location has moved. Formerly at the crossroads I-70 and Ohio 800, they can now be found at Valley Harley-Davidson in Belmont. They can be reached at 740-296-8951.
One more vendor the Buds hope to run into before they get inside the venue is Jeff of Jeff's Jerky. Bud Em never leaves Jambo without a bag of Jeff's delicious Jerky. He will lure you with a sample and you will be hooked. If you happen to miss him, you can visit his website at jeffsjerkyohio.com to order.
If you are heading to JITH this weekend, be sure to try some - or all - of these outstanding eats. And be sure to drink PLENTY of water. The Buds want their readers to be safe and have fun.
Oh - and if you see Bud Em, feel free to get her a funnel cake!
The Buds may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.