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Barbecue and beer: Rio Rancho Pork & Brew features battle of the bands, giant water slide

Pork & Brew guests will see a few fun format changes this year.

Pork & Brew returns to the Santa Ana Star Center on July 5-7. (Courtesy of Alex Archuleta)

The event, from July 5 through July 7 at the Santa Ana Star Center, will feature a new area where children can jump around and cool off on a giant inflatable water slide.

“We’re going to have this group here called Amazing Jumps. They’re going to have their jumpers,” said Alex Archuleta, director of marketing for the Santa Ana Star Center. “They’re bringing a Toxic Falls water slide. That’s like the biggest outdoor slide in New Mexico. It’s a huge inflatable thing. They’re bringing that this year and putting it up on the top lot. So you can get access to that and all of their jumpers for $20 a day for a wristband for your kids or you can buy single rides too. So if parents want to come, bring their kids, bring a change of clothes and a towel, they can go up and down all day if they want.”

A battle of the bands is another new feature at this year’s event. It will be held from noon to about 6:30 p.m. on July 6 on one of two outdoor stages. It will showcase six bands battling it out for cash prizes and trophies. First place takes home $500, second place wins $250, and third place receives $100. A few local DJs will judge.

In addition to the battle of the bands, there will be live music each day of the event.

“Along with that we’re going to have bands playing (July 5-7) all day on the two stages,” Archuleta said. “Obviously, Stage A will be the battle of the bands (July 6) for most of the day. But The Noms, an awesome local band, is going to be out here (July 5), and then The Gershom Brothers will be here. We have a whole lineup on the other stages throughout the day (July 5 and July 7), as well. There still will be a ton of live music. We’re not doing as much inside, because it gets a little crowded in there, so we thought this would be a great idea to have more music outside in the beer tent where a lot of people are going to be anyway.”

More than 20 food vendors are participating in this year’s event. They will be serving traditional barbecue, New Mexican barbecue and other styles of barbecue, as well as burgers, tacos, ice cream and more. Vendors include Albuquerque Slow Smoked BBQ, ABQ Grill ‘n Que, Big John’s BBQ, Kimo’s Hawaiian BBQ, Quesada New Mexico Food & Funnel Cake, Hot Stuff and Street Food Blvd.

Local brewers Cazuelas Brewery, Tractor Brewing Co., and Turtle Mountain Brewing Co. will help quench your thirst. Tractor and Turtle Mountain recently teamed up to brew a full bodied lager exclusively for Pork & Brew that will be on tap at the event.

There will also be about 20 arts, crafts and marketing vendors as well as an acoustic music stage inside the Santa Ana Star Center during Pork & Brew.

“Pork & Brew has been able to celebrate both longevity and success as Rio Rancho’s signature event,” said Noah Trujillo, manager of Visit Rio Rancho. “We couldn’t be more appreciative to Tractor and Turtle Mountain for collaborating to make a beer that celebrates New Mexico’s original food festival, which also pairs well with a rack of ribs.”

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