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Go pig or go home!

By Kay S. Pedrotti BBQ & Blues festival chairman Tim Rooks reports the chamber of commerce has more volunteers than ever for the 12th annual event on April 21-23 in downtown Barnesville. Working with board chair Stacey Ard and interim president Jessica Farr, Rooks said 50-75 volunteers will help with all phases of the festival, some for a few hours and others staying for the duration. The kickoff party/ chamber after hours today at 5 p.m. at United Bank, where singer Diana New, chamber executive assistant, will perform. Also at the kickoff, there will be a chainsaw giveaway and a corn hole tournament, entry fee $40 per two-person team, with first place splitting the pot, Ard said. There will be prizes awarded for second and third places as well, she added. ’If you want to enter, sign up right away, because there is a limit of 16 teams. If each team member pays for an entry, the fee is $20,’ Farr said. New to BBQ & Blues is an event brought by Lamar Arts, Plein Air (outdoor) artists, painting on Friday and Saturday and setting up on the United Bank grassy area to sell their work. Paper pigs were sold for $1 each by the chamber to donate toward the Dewaine T. Bell $1,000 scholarship, also sponsored by E.P. Roberts Center. The scholarship winner will be announced at the Saturday night concert. Music accompanies the variety of barbecue teams and vendors throughout the event. Friday night’s free concert on the festival stage features DJ Nay Nay and Lady Creech, also popular with Barnesville audiences. During the day on Saturday, bluesman Seminole Jackson will play on the festival stage, also free. For the Saturday concert, 6:30 p.m. at Ritz Park, Farr said the chamber brought back Backwoodz Branded because the band was well-received when they performed in Barnesville last year. Opening for them will be a friend of the band, Jonathan Parrott. Admission is $8, children 10 and under are free. Bring lawn chairs and blankets, but no coolers or outside drinks, Farr said. Other events to draw crowds to BBQ & Blues on Saturday include The People’s Choice barbecue judging starting at 11 a.m., Kids Park from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., car show at noon on the United Bank parking lot, and the awarding of prizes in the barbecue competition. At the People’s Choice, BBQ lovers can sample 24 different offerings for $10. The chamber had 25 cook teams registered for the FBA sanctioned cook-off at the end of last week and is expecting about 10 more to register this week. ’I love doing this,’ said Rooks. ‘I jumped in it last year, and I’m back again.’

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