Great work by BBQ festival chair

Published 9:59 am Wednesday, June 15, 2011

To The Editor:

As the cleanup effort for yet another Blue Ridge Barbecue Festival comes to a close, I would like to express [appreciatoin] to Chuck Britton who took the reins to lead this year’s effort at great expense to his business and, no doubt, to his family life. He is truly an individual who is dedicated to this community, and the barbecue is just one example of his commitment.

Since returning to Western North Carolina 13 years ago, I have been impressed with the volunteerism in Polk County. I have regarded it as a privilege and honor to be able to be associated with some of these individuals.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The level of volunteer effort here is much higher than I have observed in other communities where I have lived. This community spirit, in my opinion, is what makes this part of the country an ideal place to live.

Chuck Britton may be somewhat unique in his volunteer efforts. Unlike many staunch supporters of our area, who also deserve our gratitude, Chuck is a young man who is in business for himself and earns no money when he is not working at his job. Somehow Chuck manages to work hard enough at his paying job to manage his community service in his vanishingly small spare time. I should also mention that his family is extremely supportive of his efforts and can be seen contributing their time and effort to Chuck’s projects.

I was chagrinned and disappointed to read Mr. Bradey’s negative comments about the barbecue festival, which appeared to be gratuitous and illogical. The festival does a great deal to bring recognition to the area. In addition, it would not survive without its many volunteers.

I have personally made many long-lasting friendships by volunteering at the barbecue and am a firm believer that it helps form many such bonds in our community. I have been asked by friends who have not participated in the barbecue why I would volunteer to spend so much time in the heat to gain a T-shirt and a $7 admission to the event. It is the camaraderie, good conversations and community spirit that draw me and hundreds of others back each year.

It would appear that Mr. Bradey does not grasp this esprit de corps generated by the barbecue. I think that the loss of the barbecue festival would create a great void in our community that would be difficult, if not impossible, to replace. In this regard, I think that we again owe Chuck Britton a debt of gratitude for agreeing to put up a sum of his personal funds if the barbecue failed. It was a sum that he admitted would have been extremely difficult to come up with, but he was willing to make that commitment.

Although some of Mr. Bradey’s other issues, like the helipad, have been dealt with elsewhere, I would like to deal with one of his major complaints that deals with the sale of alcohol at the festival.

I have an admitted bias in this area since I have been involved with local breweries and wineries in my post retirement quasi-employment. I think that it would be fair to say that without alcohol sales, most festivals would be doomed to failure.

Having grown up in Asheville when it was a small town with not much to offer, I saw firsthand that after the legalization of alcohol sales at restaurants and festivals, Asheville blossomed into a vibrant artistic community with many fine restaurants.

I am certainly not suggesting that we should encourage the consumption of alcohol, but the sale of alcohol is legal in this state and, despite disparate views about its consumption and sale, it contributes a significant amount of revenue that is essential to the well-being of our public interests. To condemn the barbecue festival for the sale of alcohol would also ring the death knell for most our state’s fabulous festivals.

I apologize for devoting the time to alcohol sales when my major thrust is to congratulate Chuck for yet another highly successful Blue Ridge Barbecue Festival. I hope that we have many more and rest secure in the fact that Chuck will be involved in all of them.

– Junius G. Adams, III, Mill Spring