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BBQ & Blues preparation underway

Organizers and scores of volunteers are finalizing plans for the 2013 BBQ & Blues Festival April 25-28. The festival begins with the traditional After Hours at United Bank on Thursday from 5-7 p.m. This event will include the golf cart decorating contest. Friday events will feature a kids park and the community cook-off at which locals can submit sauce, stew, chili, wings and dessert for judging. Also on tap Friday is the Smokin’ Wheels custom car show from 6-9 p.m. at the United Bank parking lot off Main Street. The car show lineup has been greatly expanded for 2013. Entrants will display cars, trucks, motorcycles and agriculture equipment. Twelve awards and prizes will be given out, including NASCAR and Friday Night Drag Family tickets. Registration is $10 per vehicle. Friday night’s free concert at the library stage begins at 5 p.m. and will feature Blues Fish from Milner, the Neal Lucas Band from Columbus and 4U2C. Various all-star guests are set to jam with 4U2C from 8-10 p.m. On Saturday, the kids park will be open and there will be music throughout downtown featuring Biscuit and Friends, Veronika Jackson of Atlanta and Pryme from Macon. Taster’s Choice will allow locals to sample competition barbecue at noon. The pro cook teams will turn in chicken, pulled pork, ribs and brisket from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday night’s main event concert at Ritz Park will open at 6 p.m. with The Melflames which features the multi-talented Roger McLeod of Barnesville. Next up is the Crossroads Blues Band featuring Carl Pruett of Griffin who helped found BBQ & Blues. Noted blues singer E. G. Kight of Dublin will jam with Crossroads. Kight will receive the Georgia Music Legend Award which is presented annually at the festival. Noted keyboardist Chuck Leavell, a former member of the Allman Brothers Band, was nominated for the award but will be performing on the just announced Rolling Stones tour. After the presentation of Kight’s award and the Dewaine Bell music scholarship, Men in Blues will rock the park until 11 p.m. Over 50 pro cook teams are expected for the BBQ competition and the Discovery Channel will be in town filming an episode of BBQ Pitmasters. The Pitmasters set will be erected at The Herald-Gazette lot on Greenwood Street.

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