Blue Ridge Barbecue Festival gains national media attention

Published 2:22 pm Monday, May 11, 2009

&dquo;Like many events, our gate was down a bit last year due largely to the high cost of fuel,&dquo; Musselwhite said. &dquo;This year we&squo;re expecting to be back up to the 20,000‐25,000 attendance we&squo;ve enjoyed in years past ‐ and good publicity, like we&squo;ve had for the past number of years certainly helps.&dquo;

Last year, &uot;Southern Living&uot; in cooperation with selected four North Carolina events to highlight ‐ one in each of its family of four magazines. The Blue Ridge Festival was the special project of &uot;Cottage Living,&uot; which held a recipe contest for barbecue side dishes.

&dquo;That was great publicity,&dquo; Bradshaw said, &dquo;because the recipe contest was promoted in several issues in the printed magazine as well as online. The winner received a festival weekend package; and the magazine&squo;s executive chef, Sarah Foster, came to the festival and presented cooking demonstrations for our guests.&dquo;

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The June 2008 issue of &uot;WNC Magazine&uot; had a nine-page barbecue story which featured the festival&squo;s founder, Jim Tabb, and his wife cooking at the event venue, Harmon Field.

According to Musselwhite, the quality of the festival, now in its 16th year, has led to other significant recognition by major media outlets across the country including &uot;National Geographic&squo;s Adventure&uot; magazine, &uot;USA Today,&uot; the nationally syndicated radio program &uot;John Boy & Billy&squo;s The Big Show,&uot; the &uot;Travel Channel,&uot; &uot;National Barbecue News,&uot; and &uot;Maxim,&uot; &uot;Pinnacle Living,&uot; and &uot;Unlimited&uot; magazines.

Offering more than just barbecue with all the trimmings, the festival also features non-stop music on two stages, the Foothills Craft Fair, and rides and amusements for kids of all ages. There will be Beach Bingo on Friday and Saturday, and both evenings will conclude with a fireworks display.

The Blue Ridge Barbecue & Music Festival is conducted annually under the auspices of the Carolina Foothills Chamber of Commerce. Proceeds from the festival help support chamber operations and any additional funds go to the Carolina Foothills 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.

Gates open at 10 a.m. both days. Admission is $6 for adults. Children age 12 and under are admitted free with a paying adult. Admission includes shuttle parking and all live entertainment.

For additional information and a coupon for $1 off Friday&squo;s admission, visit the festival website at