Mtn View BBQ, festival to be featured on Food Network

Published 10:00 pm Monday, June 16, 2014


No one could have ever imagined when the Blue Ridge Barbecue and Music Festival started in 1994 that it would one day gain national attention on a major television network.

But the last couple of festivals have brought just that.

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During this year’s festival, local barbecue restaurant owner Shane Blackwell, of Mountain View BBQ & Deli, along with the Blue Ridge Barbecue festival will be featured on a new television show on the Food Network channel.

Blackwell said he was shocked when the Food Network called him.

Blackwell told the Food Network he was a local boy and the Blue Ridge Barbecue festival was the only festival he competes at because he loves it and what it brings to the community.

“The barbecue festival being chosen just shows what a special festival we have here,” Blackwell said.

Blackwell filmed with Food Network for three days, including at his Columbus restaurant on Thursday and at the festival on Friday and Saturday at Harmon Field in Tryon.

He was able to get to know actor and comedian Anthony Anderson, who can be seen lately as a guest judge on the Food Network’s Iron Chef and has had many roles in both television shows and movies.

Blackwell said the show producers were great and they all raved about the Polk County area.

Blackwell said the barbecue festival doesn’t just help the chamber of commerce, but helps many local businesses, particularly convenience stores and hotels from Spartanburg, S.C. to Hendersonville.

And bringing that many people to Tryon also brings the potential for people to visit or relocate here later, he said.

“They loved this place,” Blackwell said of the Food Network team. “And they were blown away by the volunteers.

“(Food Network producers) said this was the best and the biggest festival yet and they talked about the love from the whole festival, especially the willingness of people to work with them.”

And Blackwell said Anderson was a whole other story with how he interacted with people at the festival and his team. And Anderson knows his barbecue, according to Blackwell.

“(Anderson) came to our booth and just acted like he was one of us,” Blackwell said. “He took pictures with everybody and he was on the line cutting up with my staff, yelling, ‘Hey, y’all need to come get some of this Mountain View Barbecue.’ He fit in like he’d been here his whole life.”

Blackwell was one of three teams filmed at the Blue Ridge Barbecue festival this year for the new show.

Blackwell said filming with Food Network showed him more this year how lucky the community is to have an event like the Blue Ridge Barbecue and Music Festival.

“The festival is talked about nationwide,” Blackwell said, “and it’s one of the smallest counties in North Carolina putting on one of the biggest events in the country.”

This year’s festival was Blackwell’s sixth competing and fourth or fifth both competing and being a vendor.

Blackwell said people don’t realize the work that goes into the festival and said he couldn’t do it without many stepping in to help him, including his wife, Holly, and countless friends.

“I couldn’t have pulled this weekend off without the help,” Blackwell said.

And he said it still amazes him how the barbecue steering committee and volunteers pull together to put on the festival every year.

“If we didn’t have a lot of special people in this community it wouldn’t happen,” he said. “And when you can attract national attention, that is amazing.”

The new show on the Food Network channel will be called Food Fest Nation and follows festivals throughout the country. Check the Food Network website for updates on when the show will air.

“It’s not going to just be about me,” Blackwell said,” it’s going to be about the whole community and the festival. It’s going to be really neat.

“It was an awesome experience to do that. I never thought you’d see little ole Mountain View BBQ on the Food Network.”