2011 Blue Ridge Barbecue and Music Festival on track

Published 3:11 pm Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The 2011 Blue Ridge Barbecue and Music Festival is shaping up to be the best ever, according to steering committee members who are already hard at work to produce the event slated for June 10 and 11, 2011, at Harmon Field. The 18th annual festival will operate from 10 a.m. until 11 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday.

Weve got an enthusiastic group of people working hard on some very good new ideas, said Chuck Britton, festival chairman. We dont want to change anything that people have grown to love about the festival; we just want to add to the whole experience for each person who participates and that includes the guests, the cook teams, the sponsors, the volunteers, everybody!

The chairman gave a sneak peek at some of the ideas being considered. For the guests he indicated the committee is looking into adding an antique car show on Saturday and scheduling cooking demonstrations on both days. In the area of sponsorships he said that a good deal of work is being done to create sponsorship opportunities for smaller businesses.

Basically, we want to attract a wide range of people who may never have come to the festival before, and we want local businesses to have the opportunity to associate their names with ours in a way that is financially feasible and rewarding for them as well as for us, he said.

The nationally acclaimed event earned high marks from the guests who participated in a market survey conducted at the 2010 festival. The results were so positive that the professionals who conducted the survey, TouchPoll of Georgia, wrote a cover letter for its report that included this statement:

What a marvelous festival, a gem among the pebbles! Over the years we have been associated with festivals and events, we know what we will hear before we even get there. Theres not enough toilets; the parking is horrendous, we had to walk a mile from the lot to get here; the price of food is too highetc. We heard none of this, not one peep about any of it at the Blue Ridge BBQ and Music Festival!

Britton said the committee was heartened by the results of the survey and happy to receive information about who the guests were, where they came from, and what they liked best and least information that will guide them as they plan for the year to come.

Were not resting on any laurels, he said. We will continue to be better each year.

The Blue Ridge Barbecue and Music Festival has grown over the years to include not only the cooking competition, which is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society; but also music on two stages; a juried craft fair with more than 50 artists and crafters displaying, demonstrating and selling their art; carnival rides and games for kids of all ages; interesting and informative sponsor displays; and some of the best food to be had anywhere.

The festival is conducted annually under the auspices of the Carolina Foothills Chamber of Commerce. Proceeds from the festival help support chamber operations, and additional proceeds go to the Carolina Foothills Chamber Foundation to be returned to the community through distributions to a variety of charitable and civic programs and projects throughout the county. Funds are generated by a modest admission fee, contestant entry fees and sponsorships.

For further information, call the festival office at 828-859-RIBS (7427) or visit BlueRidge