This year’s BBQ Festival crowd of 21,000 up from 2008

Published 2:18 pm Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The June North Carolina State Barbecue Championship held at Harmon Field brought in 21,020 people. Last year&squo;s festival attendance of fewer than 20,000 people was down slightly from average years.

Blue Ridge BBQ and Music Festival Public Relations Chair Brenda Bradshaw said festival organizers were very pleased with this year&squo;s turnout.

The two-day festival saw 16,553 attendees at the gate and 4,467 others, including cook teams and families, entertainers, volunteers, VIPs, sponsors, crafters and free pass recipients.

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On Friday, 5,573 people entered at the gate and on Saturday the gate total was 10,980.

Other festival goers on Friday totaled 2,241 and on Saturday totaled 2,226.

This year the festival was listed among the best barbecue events across the country in the June issue of &uot;Martha Stewart Living Magazine.&uot; Media attention continues to increase for the festival, sponsored by the Carolina Foothills Chamber of Commerce and organizers predicted that this year attendance would be back up to the normal 20,000 to 25,000 people.