Rockin’ Blues & Barbeque at Madison Ribberfest

August 15 & 16, Madison’s riverfront will be filled with the soulful sounds of blues and the smoky aroma of sizzling barbeque during the 13th annual Madison RibberFest Barbeque & Blues. This two-day festival along the scenic Ohio River in historic Madison, features regional and national blues bands, barbeque competitions, boat rides and more.


Nine great blues bands are set to take the stage on Friday evening and all day Saturday, August 15 & 16 at Madison Ribberfest. This year’s headliners are the Taj Mahal Trio on Friday night and Roy Rogers & the Delta Rhythm Kings on Saturday night.

The American Music Association has just announced that Taj Mahal will receive the Lifetime Achievement in Performance Award at their awards show in September. Mahal’s career has spanned 40 years and he is recognized as “a shining light of integrity and interpretive brilliance”. He has shared the stage with such notables as Eric Clapton, Etta James and The Rolling Stones among others.

Master slide guitarist Roy Rogers & the Delta Rhythm Kings take the stage on Saturday, August 16. Rogers is considered “one of the world’s premier slide guitarists performing today”. “Thatʼs not a slide on Roy Rogersʼ pinky, itʼs a time machine. With it, Rogers transports you to the Mississippi Deltaʼs past and future. ……” ~ Guitar Player.

Rogers is an 8 time Grammy winner, has been featured on several movie soundtracks, and been touring worldwide since 1982. You’ll definitely want to bring your dancing shoes when they rock the blues on Madison’s riverfront.

Seven more great national/regional acts including Deanna Bogart, Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers, Power Plant Blues, The KingBees, Kelly Richy, Paul Thorn, and The West Coast Blues All-Stars with Junior Watson & Fred Kaplin round out the schedule for a 2-day blues extravaganza right along the Ohio River in Madison Indiana.

IMG_0022LOBarbeque lovers get to see 60 professional barbeque teams from around the country compete in the Indiana State Championship Barbeque Cook-Off for cash/prizes and a chance to represent Indiana at the Kansas City Barbeque Society’s world championship. On Friday night, there’s a Backyard Blast cooking competition for amateurs and a Kid’s Q for the youngsters on Saturday.

Riverboat cruises on the Queen City paddle wheeler, a 5K RibberRun/Ride, the Pig Toss Corn Hole Tournament and the “Piglet Pen” children’s play area, round out the offerings for a great family weekend. Check for details & registration.IMG_0020LOboat

Whether it’s Barbeque, Barbecue or BBQ – don’t miss Madison RibberFest: Barbeque & Blues August 15 and 16 in Madison, Indiana.

Two day wristbands are only $20. Gates open at 5pm on Friday, August 15 and 11am on Saturday, August 16. Children 12 and under are free with a paid adult. To order wristbands or for information, call 800-559-2956 or visit

Jet Boat Dinner Rides

Rockin’ Thunder Jet Boat Rides LLC is now taking riders from Madison Indiana on Friday evening dinner trips on the Ohio River. The ride is 57 miles round trip with a dinner stop at Jo Jo’s Bar and Grill. Captains Paul Nicholson and Janet Harding added this Dinner Trip to the Rockin’ and Scenic rides they offer from May through October.RTJBcorrect-1

“So many visitors asked us to add a trip with a meal. We looked until we found just the right place” said Capt. Paul. “The dinner stop had to be a place we could feel good taking anyone to eat. Jo Jo’s Bar and Grill fits that perfectly with great casual food, low prices and a scenic river side setting. We loved Jo Jo’s from our first visit and want to share that with our riders” said Capt. Janet.


The 3-4 hour Dinner trip is perfect for someone that wants to see some of the hidden sights along the river. Departing Madison at 5 PM every Friday and heading down river past Hanover and Bethlehem through one of the most scenic stretches of the Ohio River. “Along the way we stop at historic spots and explain events that took place when the Ohio River was the gateway to America’s frontier. We see a variety of wildlife like Bald Eagles, Blue Heron, Muskrats, Deer and more. You never know what animals will be spotted. It makes every trip that much more fun” said Capt. Janet.

The tour returns just as the sun begins to set and the river and Madison are the prettiest. “So much of the early history of this country took place along the Ohio River. We help people get an up close glimpse of the river, an understanding of how vital it has been to the United States for over 200 years and we have a fun meal along the way” said Capt. Paul.

The price is $59 per person. Meal cost is not included in the boat fare. Reservations are required.

Rockin’ Thunder Jet Boat Rides LLC offers tours of the Ohio River from late May through October on the only New Zealand Jet Boat in the Midwest.

For information call 812-701-1155 or click. Highly rated on

US Coast Guard Licensed and Inspected


Lately, as the Visitor Center Intern, I have put together several videos, some with the help of the other interns and local businesses and sites in town.  They highlight some of the activities and places in Madison.  They can be found on the Youtube channel MadisonINVideos.  So far, I have put four up highlighting some of my experiences this week. I’d also like to extend special thanks to the people and places that were featured or helped in the videos in Madison.

Stained Glass Walking Tour

First Christian Church Stained Glass Window in Madison Indiana

First Christian Church Stained Glass Window in
Madison Indiana

Hello, Madison Readers and Visitors.  My name is Katie and I work in the Madison Visitor Center. I am working on an exciting new project putting together a brochure about the stained glass windows in town, and some of the histories of these windows in local churches.  To do this, I have spent a great deal of time visiting each local church, talking to local pastors, ministers, and congregational members, and getting a feel for the community.  This brochure, which will soon be done, will reflect this research, showing pictures of some of the windows, some church history for each site, and a fun map to walk to each site.  If you like visiting unique architecture, unique antique historical churches, and other sites-or just like pretty colors-this tour is for you.  The brochure will guide pedestrian visitors on a path covering several churches and businesses in town through a world of color, art, artistry, and architecture in some of Madison’s gems.  Best of all, it will be done soon!  Drop by the Visitor Center later in the year to pick up one, and begin your trek soon!

Education and Fun at History Camp



I have been taking my 6-year-old daughter to History Camp this week, and she loves it. We are fortunate enough to live in town that is rich with examples of natural history and human history. Our unique situation on the river allows us to view the fossil rich limestone beds of the river and well-preserved examples of 19th Century architecture. Our unique history as a riverboat town that once boomed with excitement but now sleepily charms visitors, presents residents as wells as tourists with plenty to learn from.

Director of Education JoAnne Spiller understands the value of our location and opens up the Jefferson County Historical Society to kids each summer. Children ages 6 and up can spend two hours a day with JoAnne and her assistants, doing activities inspired by our fascinating past learning about early immigrants, and life forms that used to occupy the ground we walk on. On the first day of camp, my daughter went fossil hunting at the riverbank, just a short walk from the Society’s First Street location. After collecting specimens, the campers made their own plaster casts of common fossils such as horn coral. She is also weaving on her own scaled-down loom and tasting new foods.

Fossil Making

Fossil Making

Other activities lined up for the week include, making old-fashioned toys and games, churning ice cream and riding Madison’s own trolley. Although I think it was the promise of ice cream that convinced my daughter to sign up, she’s having a blast being outside, enjoying the treasures that make our town special.

- Angela Elles