Then it was on to the Hot Steamed Jazz Fest in Essex, an underrated event featuring the upbeat sounds of New Orleans jazz (and related stylings) in a back parking lot next to the Essex Steam Train. Great happy music. The mostly older crowd was better than this Tout video shows; but more young people should definitely make a day of this next year. Loved it.
And then, with a hankering for slow-cooked pork and brisket, we tweeted from the Sun BBQ Fest at Mohegan Sun. It featured a nice variety of food and vendors but an odd setup -- with BBQ vendors fenced off in a no-alcohol area and the picnic tables and other vendors on the other end. Some BBQ vendors at 4 p.m. or so said they were out of ribs, which was curious, but there were others offering small $2 samples or larger plates. There's something pretty plain and uninspiring about a parking lot, too, but the weather was hard to fault. (Fireworks later would have been good, but we didn't stay for that.) If Mohegan was ever able to utilize the views and feel of the adjacent Thames River -- beyond a partial view on the second floor of Margaritaville or from some of its hotel rooms -- that would truly be special. In the meantime, you have to settle for picnic tables in a huge lot, with a nearby stage featuring regional bands. (There did seem to be more places to sit compared to the first fest in 2012, but there's nothing like a little foliage color, a gazebo and maybe a beach volleyball court for ambiance outside.)