I suspect that over 70 years ago, when a group of Vermillion citizens thought it would be a good idea to hold a rib feed out in the country west of town, they simply wanted to have some fun.
And eat some good barbecue. And probably wash it down with cold beer.
Those first local barbecue enthusiasts probably never imagined one day, their �good idea,� perhaps born because of a simple need to blow off some steam and do something different to get people together, would be so needed today.
Let�s face it. We�ve all seen better years than 2011. The national economy remains sluggish. The epic flood of the Missouri River this summer continues, with hopefully an end in sight soon as water releases from the state�s dams are gradually being drawn down to more normal levels.
What else? Well, beetles are destroying trees in the Black Hills, Pierre experienced a mild earthquake a few weeks ago, there�s a drought in Texas, the South is still reeling from tornadoes that ripped through communities earlier this summer, and the east coast received billions of dollars in damage from a hurricane last week.
It�s why this year�s Ribs, Rods and Rock �n Roll event, scheduled to begin Sept. 9 in downtown Vermillion, has become so important.
Seven years ago, Vermillion citizens decided to resurrect the barbecue tradition that had been dormant here for decades, likely with the hopes of creating a signature event for the community.
They�ve done more than that, however. They have created something that all of us, now more than ever, need to experience.
Next weekend, we need to turn off our televisions, and pull ourselves away from the news that streams our way constantly on our computers.
We need to get away.
We need to sink our teeth into tender barbecued ribs and listen to good, live music.
We need to take a leisurely stroll in downtown Vermillion, and view the fine craftsmanship of the vehicles that will be on display at the Classic Car and Cycle Show and Shine.
Signature events are a great way for a community to get noticed. There�s nothing like an annual tradition to help attract visitors and more importantly, give a city a unique identity.
Czech Days. Schmeckfest. Corn Palace Week. River Boat Days. Ribs, Rods and Rock �n Roll. Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant. Think about it. Even if you�ve only lived in South Dakota for a brief time, it�s easy to connect the dots. The communities that host each of these traditional events easily come to mind.
These events, while unique, also have something in common. They fulfill the need we all have, in bad times and good, to simply celebrate life here in South Dakota.
Next weekend, Sept. 9 and 10, we urge everyone who is hankering for a good time to visit our community.
Ribs, Rods and Rock �n Roll fulfills the need we all have to simply, and briefly, get away from it all.
It�s a time to greet the vendors and visitors from other parts of the country that will be visiting Vermillion, to forge some new friendships, and to renew others.
It�s a time to relax, and enjoy a plate of ribs. And good, live music. And the fellowship of others, like you, who also need some time away from the daily grind to have some fun.
We�ll see you downtown.