Rabbi Noah Farrow and volunteers at Northern Hills Synagogue BBQ Festival.

Rabbi Noah Farrow and volunteers at Northern Hills Synagogue BBQ Festival.


The thermometer reached 90, with the sun soaking the Northern Hills Synagogue BBQ Festival, but that didn’t deter festival-goers from having a good time.

“Everything is good,” said Ron and Sharon Hennies, who live in the same Warren County neighborhood as the synagogue. “We saw the signs up and decided to stop by.”

The third annual festival featured barbecue and other food along with entertainment, a silent auction, a craft market and kids games.

Jeff Bassin, vice president of fundraising for the synagogue and a co-chair of the festival, said the day was “going great. It has come together and has been a lot of fun.”

One of the reasons NHS decided to put on the festival is to get to know its neighbors. Bassin said they were “kind of alone” in the northern suburbs, outside of the Blue Ash area.

“We were intending to get people to know we are here,” he said. “The response has been very nice; it is nice to see (the neighbors) come. We’ve really drawn the kind of crowd we had hope to draw.”

Ross Muron and Jun Haney were part of that crowd. They said the festival was “awesome.” The best part for the couple was the food.

They found out about the barbecue festival from signs the synagogue had put up in the neighborhood.

Warren County Deputy Sheriff Kelly Hammonds and his K9 partner Vader put on a demonstration during the festival. Young and old were there to see Vader, a German shepherd, perform a search for drugs, while Hammonds explained what it took to be a K9 handler. 

Many in the crowd commented about the commands Hammonds gives his dog in German; the K9 was born in Germany. 

The festival’s food was being ably prepared by Henry Stern, who attends NHS while living in Centerville. He’s been a member for 14 years, after the shul he attended collaborated with NHS.

“We just fell in love with Northern Hills,” Stern said.

He was cooking barbecue, vegan chicken and hot dogs. But some of the dogs were spiral sliced and grilled, a specialty he said he makes at home.

“I love to cook and I like food,” he said, laughing. 

He’s been cooking at each festival and said this year’s was much better, with more people.

Bassin, who seemed to be everywhere during the day, said what may have drawn more people was a time change, from noon to 4 p.m. last year to 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. this year. “It aligns more with dinner dimer time.” 

He said about 30 people overall helped put the festival together, and said the Jewish community put a lot of support behind the festival.

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