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Barbecue festival names new chairman

&dquo;They won&squo;t miss a beat,&dquo; the outgoing chairman said. &dquo;They&squo;re all experienced pros by now, and Dale is a natural leader.&dquo;

McIntyre joined the festival team in 2003 as merchandise chair, after volunteering in that area for two years. In 2005 he worked side by side with then chairman Andy Millard. Millard resigned at the end of that year&squo;s event.

McIntyre then served as festival chairman in 2006 and 2007 and got the ball rolling for 2008 before stepping down this month. &dquo;I had the privilege of learning from one of the guys who really helped build this event,&dquo; he said, &dquo;and I&squo;ve enjoyed every moment. It&squo;s really a year-round job now ‐ wrapping up the details of one year&squo;s event in July, and beginning the next year&squo;s in August. I just don&squo;t have the time to do the kind of job I&squo;d want to do this year.&dquo;

Musselwhite had nothing but praise for McIntyre. &dquo;We&squo;re really going to miss Eric. But he has laid a good foundation over these last two years, and his early planning for the 2008 festival will make my job easier,&dquo; he said.

Musselwhite came to Tryon from Orlando in 1998 with the intention of slowing down and enjoying a leisurely life. It didn&squo;t work out that way, however, because he moved his business here, too. Musselwhite Electric, Inc., does electrical installation for new construction and repairs and rewiring for existing homes. He began working with the barbecue festival in 2001, serving on the operations committee doing the electrical set ups at the festival site at Harmon Field.

This June 13 and 14 will mark the festival&squo;s fifteenth year, and Musselwhite said that the committee is committed to making it a truly memorable event.

&dquo;We&squo;re planning to put on one of the best and most profitable festivals ever,&dquo; Musselwhite said. &dquo;I want to encourage more people to step up to help with this great event. There&squo;s room on our committee for new faces and new ideas, and of course for new willing hands to share the work. Why should we have all the fun?&dquo;

The Blue Ridge Barbecue & Music Festival is conducted annually under the auspices of the Polk County Chamber of Commerce. Proceeds from the festival help support chamber operations and all additional proceeds go to the Polk County Chamber Foundation to be returned to the community through distributions to a variety of programs and projects throughout the county. Funds are generated by a modest admission fee, contestant entry fees and sponsorships.