Barbecue Will Bloom This Weekend

This appeared in The Mountain Press - May 17, 2008

Downtown Sevierville will play host to some of the best barbecue and the top bluegrass musicians in the country this weekend.

The Bloomin' Barbeque & Bluegrass festival will surround the courthouse Friday and Saturday. Fifty teams will be competing for the Bush's Best Tennessee State Championship, including the top two barbecue teams in the nation, according to the Kansas City Barbecue Society.

Cool Smoke, the top team in the nation, will also be one of four barbecue vendors for the event. The cook-off teams will be judged by representatives of the barbecue society; barbecue will be sold at the four vendor stations. The event also features eight other food vendors selling funnel cakes, kettle corn and other food, said Amanda Maples Marr, marketing coordinator for the sponsoring Sevierville Chamber of Commerce.

Friday's music starts at 5 p.m.; headliner Larry Cordle and Lonesome Standard Time take the stage at 8 p.m. Saturday, music will start at 2 p.m. and last throughout the evening. Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives will perform at 8 p.m. for the finale.

"It's going to be a cool event," said Marr.

The cooking competitions start Friday night with teams working on dishes involving Bush Beans; winners of the barbecue cook-off will be announced Saturday afternoon.

Barbecue expert Paul Kirk will give tips on cooking both afternoons, and vendors will also be selling every sort of barbecue supply from sauces and aprons to grills.

Teams of children ages 6 to 16 will be competing in the Knoxville TVA Credit Union Kids' Que, using their own sauces and rubs to cook chicken thighs. The entry fee for teams is $25 and the deadline for entry is today.

Contestants will be provided with all the materials except for the sauces and spices, and fire marshal Tommy White will light the grills at 8:30 a.m.

"I'm really looking for some more teams to compete," Marr said. "It's a fun thing."

The Chamber is also stepping up its efforts to go green at this year's festival. It will have containers for food waste and compostable materials, recyclable items and other items.

"We feel like it's probably going to mean a 20 percent waste reduction," Marr said.

By Jeff Farrell

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