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BBQ & Blues off to great start

BBQ & Blues 2010 got off to a great start Thursday night with the largest attendance ever at the After Hours kickoff event at United Bank. Cooking teams from all over the southeast are here and the air is filled with savory smells wafting on the breeze. ALL ABOUT THE BBQ EVENTS: During the Backyard Cook-off Friday night, locals are invited to enter their creations. You can cook your favorite recipe at home, bring it in and enter. Entry fees are $15 per category. The first place winner in the sauce contest will win a Big Green Egg smoker. Second and third place winners will get trophies. In the wings, chili and stew categories, the first place winner will get a split of the entry fee money with trophies for second and third place in each category. Backyard cooks are also invited to participate in Saturday’s barbecue competition in their own division. A $75 fee gets entrants a 12×12 cooking space alongside the pro teams but without water or power. It is perfect for teams with a Weber grill or a small smoker, event chairman T.J. Imberger said. Again the first place winner will get a split of the entry fee money with trophies going to the second and third place finishers. Sixty pro barbecue teams from all over the southeast will compete in the sanctioned BBQ cookoff. Leading the pack will be Myron Mixon of Jack’s Old South BBQ in Unadilla. Mixon stars on TLC’s BBQ Pitmasters series and has won nearly $1 million in prize money on the cooking circuit over the years. The cook teams fire up their rigs Friday and Mom can shut her stove down because there will be plenty of barbecue and all the trimmings available throughout the weekend. You can sample pro-cooked barbecue Saturday for a modest fee and help decide the People’s Choice winners. ALL ABOUT THE MUSIC: BBQ and Blues 2010 begins to groove tonight with free music at the BBQ stage behind First National Bank downtown. Southwind, featuring local teens Derek Petty, Daniel Petty and Walker Ozier, opens the show at 5:30 p.m. Lamar’s own guitar god Mark Henson will take the stage at 6:30 p.m. followed by The Master Blasters at 8:30 p.m. The tunes resume at 1 p.m. Saturday on the BBQ stage with Veronika Jackson and Doctor Dixon, the Blues Physician. The Melflames, led by local musician Roger McLeod, perform at 3 p.m. Gates at Ritz Park open at 5 p.m. Saturday for the main event concert which will be held rain or shine. Tickets are $10. Sammy Blue and his band open the music at 6:30 p.m. followed by the Buckeye Band at 7:50 p.m. Veteran blues musician Eddie Kirkland will be presented the Georgia Music Legend Award at about 9 p.m. and the winner of the Bell scholarship will be named. Kirkland will likely do a short set and there is no shortage of possibilities as to who will show up to jam with him. Following the presentation, headliners Nick Moss and the Flip Tops will take the stage.

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