The weather cooperated with sunny skies and summer temperatures on Saturday for the 5th annual Big Spring Bluegrass and Barbecue Festival held in Neosho's Big Spring Park. Crowds gathered early to savor the scent of barbecue on the slight breeze and to enjoy the bluegrass music that took center stage at the event. During the morning hours, until noon, the Neosho Farmers' Market also offered up homegrown and homemade items for sale.

The weather cooperated with sunny skies and summer temperatures on Saturday for the 5th annual Big Spring Bluegrass and Barbecue Festival held in Neosho's Big Spring Park. Crowds gathered early to savor the scent of barbecue on the slight breeze and to enjoy the bluegrass music that took center stage at the event. During the morning hours, until noon, the Neosho Farmers' Market also offered up homegrown and homemade items for sale.

Twelve bands and 10 vendors were on hand to provide eats and entertainment at the event which began at 10 a.m. and continued through 7 p.m. when the last act of the day finished.

The bluegrass groups that participated were Greenland Station, Borderline Bluegrass, Ripplin' Creek, The Rovin' Gamblers, Vogts Sisters, The Flying Buzzards, The Grass Pickers, White River Junction, Finley RiverBoys, Brightwater Junction, That Dalton Gang and Southern Tradition. Many of the groups also had CD's, T-shirts, and other items available for sale during the one-day event.

Members from Southern Tradition also provided the sound for all the performances.

Borderline Bluegrass took the stage Saturday morning, fresh from an appearance in late July in Nashville, Tennessee where they participated in WSM's Pickin' On The Plaza at the famed Ryman Auditorium as part of the Bluegrass Nights Event.

"We are happy to be here," vocalist Ty Dawson, Borderline Bluegrass, said.

He also plays both guitar and mandolin for the group.

"We are happy to be in Neosho," Dawson said.

The other members of Borderline Bluegrass include Dawson's wife, Julie, on bass and vocals, Jon Harden, fiddle and vocals, and Daniel Shilling on banjo and dobro.

Ty Dawson addressed the crowd of bluegrass enthusiasts from the stage, "Are you have fun? Do you all want to hear a fiddle tune? You all got to clap loud - you're a long way away so keep those hands going!"

Many of those who attended staked out spots on the shady area including the hill on the eastern side of Big Spring Park.

Borderline Bluegrass took requests from the audience, including one for the Johnny Russell classic, "Ain't You Even Going To Cry? from Mike Riley, who came to the festival from Pittsburg, Texas.

Their repertoire of songs also included some gospel tunes. "Bluegrass and gospel go hand in hand," Dawson said.

Food vendors offered up a variety of barbecue and other festival treats. Aaron Crum, who operates The Sunshine Shack, offered several varieties of barbecued pork as well as some grilled cheese options for those who might prefer something besides barbecue.

Shuttle service was available from the Neosho Square to the festival, provided by the City of Neosho.

The audience included all ages.

Plans will soon be in the works for the 6th annual Bluegrass and Barbecue Event but the next upcoming festival is Neosho's long standing favorite, The Neosho Fall Festival, which will be held on Oct. 6 and 7, the first weekend in October.