Blue Ridge BBQ Festival again proclaimed NC State Barbecue Championship

Published 5:12pm Friday, May 24, 2013

“This was so popular last year, we’re doing it again,” he said. “Everybody gets in free on Friday from the time the gates open at 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., and they can stay as long as they wish.”

The chairman went on to explain that at all other times admission will be $8 for adults, and kids 12 and under are always free with a paying adult.

Cookers keep the smoke coming. (photo submitted)
Cookers keep the smoke coming. (photo submitted)

Active duty military men and women are always free with military ID. Admission includes parking, shuttle to the gate and all concerts. He also mentioned that the kid’s ride bracelets will be available again this year — that is, unlimited rides in two sessions each day: from the time the gates open until 4 p.m. and from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m.

Gates open at 10 a.m. and close at 11 p.m. both days.

Entertainment Chairman Benton Wharton has announced a strong lineup of performers including Friday evening’s headliners Big Daddy Love and Town Mountain, and Saturday’s Donna the Buffalo and The Blue Dogs. The music cranks up in the early afternoon and also includes such notable bands as Lil’ Jimmy Peterman Revue, Velvet Truckstop, The Springs, Chuck Beattie Band, Aaron Burdett Band and many more.

Barbecue teams come from all over the country each year to compete for more than $20,000 in titles, trophies and prizes. Among the most coveted prizes, according to Britton, is the Governor’s Trophy, the symbol of the North Carolina State Championship, which is awarded to the top finishing North Carolina team. Special competitions this year include the Reser’s America’s Best Potato Salad Challenge and the Smithfield Rib Super Series.

An added feature this year is the Western North Carolina Points Chase, in which teams enter three contests — the Blue Ridge BBQ Festival, the Maggie Valley, N.C. Barbecue Festival (July 26-27) and the Franklin, N.C. Mountain High BBQ (August 9-10) — and the team with the highest accumulated scores of the three contests gets the “winner takes all” prize of $1,000.

Festivalgoers are encouraged to wander around “Hog Heaven” and see the cook teams in action. They may even pick up a hint or two about the art of slow cooking. Then they can head to the main field to chow down on award-winning barbecue — as well as grilled corn-on-the-cob, fresh-squeezed lemonade and more. The lineup of food vendors includes something for everyone’s taste — including vegetarians.

On Saturday, look for the third annual Classic Car Show featuring carefully restored vintage cars and trucks, and there will be two “Hawg Runs to Fun” (motorcycle poker runs), one originating in Greenville, S.C., and the other in Asheville, N.C. Both runs will start around 10 a.m. and bikes will begin arriving at the festival around noon.

In recent years, the festival has made a concerted effort toward “Going Green” and reducing its environmental footprint. The efforts of faithful volunteers and much hard work have been rewarded with an annual average saving of 13,000 pounds of waste diverted from landfill to recycling. Guests are encouraged to participate by properly disposing of food and beverage items, a task in which they may be assisted by a faithful group of “green” volunteers.

The Blue Ridge Barbecue & Music Festival is produced by the Carolina Foothills Chamber of Commerce. Proceeds from the Festival help support Chamber operations and the Carolina Foothills Chamber Foundation which annually distributes grants to a variety of charitable and civic programs.

As always the Festival committee needs hundreds of volunteers (who work a four-hour shift and can get in free both days – not to mention free T-shirt, free bottle of water and free food voucher). Recruiting is still under way.

For more information on volunteering or any aspect of the festival, visit www.BlueRidgeBBQFestival.com or call 828-859-RIBS.

– article submitted by Brenda Bradshaw

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