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Menu is extensive but main course is fun

By Walter Geiger In just its ninth year, the Barnesville BBQ & Blues Festival has grown into one of the premiere events of its type in the southeast and nationally. Approximately 50 cook teams will be in town this week. Their campers and smokers will start rolling in on Thursday night and, by Friday morning, the air will be filled with the aroma of pork, chicken and brisket prepared as it was intended. These folks are serious about their craft. It is fascinating just to walk through the cooking areas and check out the fancy cookers and smokers. Modern technology has definitely come to the grilling world. All the teams are generous with samples of their work and the winners will go on to the World Barbecue Championship later this year in Las Vegas. Additionally, the popular television show BBQ Pitmasters will be filming an episode at The Herald-Gazette office all weekend. Then there is the music. Three bands are on the bill for Friday night’s free concert. Three more acts will perform free shows Saturday afternoon. Ten dollars will get you into a great show Saturday night at Ritz Park which features the Melflames, the Crossroads Blues Band with E.G. Kight and Men in Blues. Friday night and Saturday, there is a Kids Park where parents can entertain their children with all-day access wristbands priced at $10 each. If you consider yourself to be good on the grill, you can prepare your own wings, stew, chili or dessert at home and enter the community cook-off Friday night. You can also enter your barbecue sauce and, if you finish first, you get a Kommado Joe smoker grill. Those into antique vehicles and farm equipment will love Friday night’s Smokin’ Wheels Car Show in the United Bank parking lot off Main Street. There has been so much interest in this event, additional space has been reserved along Taylor Street to accommodate it. Perhaps the best part about the festival is the family reunion atmosphere surrounding it. Folks who grew up here but have moved away come home and reunite with friends and family. The entire event just has a great vibe about it and, if you have never been, you have really missed out. It all begins at 5 p.m. Thursday with the annual kickoff After Hours event at United Bank, the presenting sponsor of BBQ & Blues. There will be food, frolicking and a golf cart decorating contest. BBQ & Blues 2013 sports an extensive menu but the main course is fun. Come savor it! Walter Geiger is editor and publisher of The Herald Gazette.

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