CLEAR BROOK — A fish fry, barbecue and lots of beer and cheer are on the menu at the Frederick County Fairgrounds this weekend as two local organizations partner for a three-day Labor Day weekend event.
Concert Hotline kicks off the festivities on Friday with its 23rd annual fish fry. The event is from 4 to 9 p.m. and will feature similar fare as in years past, including catfish, red beans and rice with Andouille sausage, cornbread, coleslaw and cookies. Hush puppies will be added to the menu as a new side.
Last year, the event served between 1,400 and 1,500 people.
“This is our biggest fundraiser,” said Rusty Holland, executive director of Concern. “We’re talking 25 to 30% of our annual budget. It supports our phones 365 days a year.”
Concern Hotline is a free referral, crisis intervention and suicide prevention hotline serving the Northern Shenandoah Valley. The organization’s approximately 40 volunteers take between 250 and 275 calls a month.
“We’re greatly underserved for mental health and suicide services in the area, so we want to be there for [these callers,]” Holland said. “We’re trying to empower people to take hold of their life and make positive growth.”
Friday’s event will feature live music from JunkFood, along with a beer garden where people can relax and talk. A drive-thru will be available for those who don’t plan to stay and would like their food to go.
Fish fry tickets are $25 at the door and $20 in advance. Advance tickets may be purchased at Lykens Chiropractic, Grove’s Harley-Davidson, 2 Fat Butchers and EventBrite.
Concern Hotline’s next fundraiser is a motorcycle ride on Sept. 18.
Last year was the first time Concern Hotline and the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival partnered to host Labor Day weekend festivities.
The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival’s Honeycar BBQ & Brews event is from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, also at the fairgrounds.
The event will feature barbecue from several vendors; bourbon, whiskey, hard cider, craft and microbrew samplings from local and regional suppliers; and live entertainment, including a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band on Sunday.
For those who don’t want to miss watching their favorite team, college football games will be aired on three large TV screens throughout the weekend. In addition, attendees can register to play in a cornhole tournament or take part in several tailgating games, including axe throwing.
“It’s an opportunity, especially in the current economy, for folks to find something fun to do on Labor Day weekend,” said Brad Veach, executive director of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival. “It’s a staycation, and it gives everyone something to look forward to. We also hope it keeps Apple Blossom in people’s minds. The things we do in the offseason are important to keep the momentum going and keep the festival alive.”
General admission to BBQ & Brews is $25 ($30 at the gate) and includes six sampling tickets, a souvenir tasting glass, tailgating games, cornhole, live entertainment and football game viewing. A VIP ticket is $45 and includes all the above, but with nine sampling tickets and a barbecue dinner plate. VIP tickets must be purchased in advance.
Non-drinking admission tickets are $10 and available at the gate. Children 12 and under are admitted free of charge.
For more information and tickets, visit thebloom.com.