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BBQ& Blues kicks off tonight

The 14th annual BBQ & Blues Festival gets underway Thursday with the annual kickoff party at United Bank, the presenting sponsor of the event. The party will feature a cornhole tournament, food, drink, music, door prizes and fun for the entire family. Tonight, cook teams will begin moving in their campers and the elaborate cook trailers that go along with the Kansas City BBQ Society sanctioned competition. Soon charcoal smoke will fill the air as chicken, ribs, beef brisket and fine cuts of pork hit the smokers. Local backyard chefs can get in on the action Friday by submitting sauce, wings and deserts for judging. Those who enter will receive one ticket to the Ritz Park blues jam which has been moved to Friday night this year. Gates open at the Ritz at 5:30 p.m. Admission is $10. The concert will be ‘˜street party’ style and Forsyth Street will be closed in the area. The opening act, Men in Blues, will take the stage at 5:45 p.m. The veteran Atlanta blues band was here about eight years ago and drew rave reviews. Crossroads will perform at 8:30 p.m. The Griffin-based band has played the festival multiple times. Front man Carl Pruett is bringing throaty singer Sherry Paul with him along with Macon sax legend Burt Durham and guitarist Rick Maxwell, formerly of Atlanta Rhythm Section. The show will be headlined by Tribute, the official Allman Brothers tribute band. Tribute is a powerful eight-piece group that faithfully recreates the music of one of the quintessential Southern rock band. Since its founding in 2013, Atlanta-based Tribute has earned a reputation as the source for the authentic ABB sound around Atlanta and throughout the Southeast. Rigged with vintage equipment, they interpret the Allman catalog in such a way that these songs written in the 60s and 70s come alive again. Pruett expects Macon music impresario Alan Walden to be on hand with his wife Tosha. Walden discovered Otis Redding and founded Capricorn Records with his late brother, Phil. Also scheduled to appear is festival veteran horn player Newton Collier who performed with Redding, Sam & Dave and others. Both Collier and Alan Walden are Georgia Music Legend award winners. Saturday will be devoted to the cook off. Competition turn-ins begin at 11 a.m. with winners announced at 4:30 p.m. BBQ and all the trimmings will be available beginning at lunchtime Friday and you can sample the competition delicacies and participate in the People’s Choice judging. An egg carton of barbecue from the cook teams will cost $10 Music Saturday at the festival stage will be provided by Bluesfish and the Garrett Collins Band. As usual, the Kids Park with inflatables and other activities will be located near the United Bank drive-through area and open Friday and Saturday. For more information, contact the chamber office at 770-358-5884.

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