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June 19, 2014

Barbourville to sizzle this weekend

First-ever BBQ Cook-Off & Festival starts Thursday

BARBOURVILLE — It’s recently been heating up outside, and with that being said, organizers with the first-ever  Barbourville BBQ Cook-Off & Festival hope the heat will continue.

In this case, they’re hoping the heat, smoke and aroma from what several dueling grill teams are cooking will bring folks to Thompson RV Park this weekend.

While early registration will be held Thursday at noon at the park, located at 125 Old South Main Street in Barbourville, the action starts for the cook teams this Friday, and really cooks this Saturday with the cooking, judging and awarding of prizes.

Throw in a couple of free concerts this weekend, a fire muster and a car show downtown, Barbourville Tourism’s Director, Denise Wainscott, feels the time is right to heat up the town.

“Everything’s going along good. We’re setting up tents, getting everything ready for the BBQ Cook-Off and we’re preparing for the majority of the teams to come in Thursday, with the rest of them coming Friday. As of Tuesday,we have 28 confirmed cooking teams confirmed to be entered, and possibly one more team coming in by Friday. They’re coming in from Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, Ohio and Kentucky. These are some of the top professional teams in the country, too,” she said Wednesday in a phone interview from Barbourville.

Presented by Barbourville Tourism, the Barbourville BBQ Cook-Off & Festival is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS), a non-profit organization that sanctions over 450 barbecue contests throughout the United States. The group states they’re the world’s largest organization of barbeque and grilling enthusiasts, with over 19,000 members worldwide.

Wainscott mentioned this weekend’s event is an official state barbeque championship in Kentucky, and is part of the Jim Beam Bluegrass BBQ Showdown. She added that the festival will not only bring barbeque cooking teams from Kentucky and beyond to town to show off their talents — it brings a whole new experience for the teams, and for the Barbourville-Knox County area as well.

“This brings people to your area that you’ve never had here before. They’ll get a chance to see, hear, and find out more about Barbourville and what we have to offer. That’s why a lot of the teams and judges do this, because they get to see what’s unique with our area. And if they like it, they’ll come back and tell their friends. A lot of these people coming this weekend have never been here, and we have a great place to hold this event, here at Thompson RV Park,” said Wainscott.

What the cook teams will be vying for this weekend is a cash purse of $8,000. The Grand Champion gets $2,500, while the Reserve Grand Champion will receive $1,200.

Cash prizes will also be awarded in KCBS-sanctioned categories for chicken, ribs, pork and brisket. In those categories, the 1st Place winner gets $500, the 2nd Place finisher gets $250, while $150 is given for 3rd Place, $100 for 4th Place and $75 for 5th Place. Those finishing 6th through 10th Place will receive a ribbon and recognition at the event.

For the cook teams, the early registration and placing of competition teams begins Thursday at noon.

On Friday, cook team registration and meat inspection begins at 8 a.m. At 11:30 a.m., Ci Ci’s Kitchen opens at Thompson RV Park. The kitchen is the official vendor of the cook-off and festival, and will serve BBQ and other foods to those attending. A cook’s meeting for the teams takes place at 5 p.m., followed by the cook’s dinner at 6 p.m., with KCBS registration closing at 8 p.m. A free concert featuring Jordan Allen and The Bellwethers will be held at the park from 8 - 10 p.m., with people encouraged to bring their lawn chairs to the concert. At 11 p.m., “Quiet Time” is observed, with a snack for the cook teams planned at Midnight.

The cookin’, smokin’ and grillin’ really kick in on competition day, which is this Saturday.

A cook team breakfast will be held at 7 a.m., followed with food vendor Ci Ci’s Kitchen opening at the park at 8 a.m. Two hours later, craft vendors at the event will open for business, with the BBQ Judges meeting scheduled for 10:30 a.m.

At noon, the judging begins, with the chicken judged at that time. That’s followed by pork ribs at 12:30 p.m., then pork at 1 p.m. and beef brisket at 1:30 p.m. All this culminates at 4:30 p.m., when the awards presentation is made on the stage at the park.

During this time, while the competition’s going on, two free concerts will take place at Thompson RV Park. One features Country singer/songwriter Zac Hart from Noon to 1:45 p.m., with the band Frontier performing from 2 - 4 p.m. Those going to the concerts are encouraged to bring lawn chairs for the show.

Also this Saturday, the Appalachian Foothills Fire Muster will be held at Barbourville Water and Recreation Park from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. It features an antique and modern fire apparatus show, as well as fire department historical displays, firefighter competition, kids firefighting games and much more.

And in downtown Barbourville from Noon to 5 p.m., the “Snow & Shine Car Show” will be held at Commercial Bank parking lot. Admission and registration is free, with registration beginning at 10 a.m.

If you need more information about the first-ever Barbourville BBQ Cook-Off & Festival this weekend, call Barbourville Tourism at (606) 545-9674, or go to their website at www.barbourvilletourism.com. You can also find information at their Facebook page at Facebook/Barbourville Tourism.

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