Competition at Blues Fest to determine top BBQ cooker

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 14, 2006

The South has blessed the nation with its many cultural icons – from the King himself, Elvis Presley, and great blues and jazz legends, to its many beauty title holders and love for all things football.

Then there’s the rib-sticking, flavorful food that so many fall in love with.

&uot;One of the things we’ve discovered here in Greenville is the food is really, really good,&uot; says Jimmy Hall, artist and recent transplant to the Camellia City.

Whether you are one of those who haven’t discovered that fact for themselves (where have you been?), or someone all too aware of southern food delights, you’ll have the chance to enjoy some great southern cookin’ later this month.

A music-filled outdoor event with fun for all ages is returning to the heart of the Camellia City – and it’s bringing some dandy eats with it.

Fabulous southern cookin’

The Sweet Gum Bottom Blues Festival, slated for Saturday, October 28, will feature fabulous Southern treats like Cajun fare, smoked turkey, baked sweet potatoes, fried green tomatoes and sweet tea. Sounds great, right?

But wait – there’s more.

The festival will also debut its Inaugural Sweet Gum Bottom Blues & Que Competition. Nancy Idland can’t wait to sniff the enticing scent of barbecue wafting through downtown Greenville as the competition gets underway.

&uot;I feel this is going to be a great addition to our festival. What goes better with great blues music than great barbecue?&uot; Idland, executive director of the event’s main sponsor, Greenville Main Street, says with a grin.

Cookin’ for cash

Want to show off your barbecuing mastery or know someone who should? Read on.

Blues & Que Cookers are invited to participate in three meat categories – brisket, pork spare ribs and chicken – for a chance to win 1st, 2nd or 3rd place in each category. More than just glory goes to the winners, too.

$150 goes to the 1st place winner, $100 to the 2nd place winner, and 3rd place winner takes home $50. In addition, the grand champion (determined by points derived from category wins) will earn another $100.

Cookers can begin checking in on Friday, October 27 to the area behind the Ritz Theatre, the site of the festival. Entry fee is $25 per team, with each team consisting of a head cook and four team members.

A successful event could send local cookers to Texas for a chance to win even more fame and fortune.

&uot;If ten or more teams participate, the top three places in each meat category will receive an invitation to the National Barbecue Championship in Meridian, Texas the 4th weekend of August,&uot; Butler County farmer Tom Crenshaw, who is helping organize the cook-off, says.

Both Idland and Crenshaw hope to see lots of talented barbecue cookers turn out for competition. &uot;I think it’s the perfect combination – blues and ‘que,&uot; Crenshaw says.

The entry deadline, October 16, is fast approaching, so barbecue gurus need to gather their recipes and fixins’ real soon, organizers say.

For more information on the Blues & Que Competition and details on rules of the International Barbecue Cookers Association (IBCA), contact Tom Crenshaw at 334-382-3563 or by e-mail at The barbecue cook-off is also being sponsored by the Smokehouse Restaurant and Country Store.

Food, music and more

The Sweet Gum Bottom Blues Fest kicks off at midday on Oct. 28 in the area behind the Ritz Theatre. A Vintage Car Show, food and craft vendors, games, rides and hands-on art activities for the kids are planned. An afternoon and evening filled with music from acts like Junior Thomas, Jerry McCain, Topper Price and Greenville’s own Rock Killough, will have folks of all ages tapping their toes, clapping their hands and dancing.

&uot;I loved the first Blues Fest last year. We had a wonderful time. I hope lots more people turn out to enjoy this wonderful live music right here in our hometown,&uot; fan Priscilla Davis of Greenville says.