Cookers, cars take honors at 2nd Annual Blues Fest

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 4, 2006

They came, they saw, they listened. They danced and played and chowed down.

Greenville Main Street's Second Annual Sweet Gum Bottom Blues Fest brought all ages out last Saturday to enjoy an array of activities, concessions and, of course, plenty of live blues music.

Classic car enthusiasts got to check out the entries in the event's car show, held from noon ‘til 3 p.m. and organized by Betty McGough of Honoraville and Ronnie Adams and Ernie Floyd of Greenville.

&#8220We are really pleased with the turnout. We've got people from Andalusia, Red Level, Brantley, Montgomery, Georgiana, Greenville, Honoraville and other places all here today,” McGough said.

Greenville's David Nordgren won the Ladies' Choice Award for his snazzy 1955 Sunbeam Alpine.

&#8220Well, I am glad to get the award from the ladies,” Nordgren chuckled as he came forward for his gift certificate.

Lamar Sampley's 1969 Ford F-150 pickup took home the Work in Progress Award.

The owners of a vintage Chevelle from Mobile took the award for Longest Distance.

Greenville's Rosie Floyd was delighted to take home the Luck of the Draw award for her '68 Mercedes green Volkswagen Beetle. &#8220I can't afford a real Mercedes, so I got a Mercedes green bug,” Floyd quipped.

One of the most novel entries, McGough said, was Georgiana's Edward and Mary Ann Stewart's red and white '56

Ford Victoria, complete with a tray of drive-in taste treats in one window, a drive-in movie speaker in the other, and a pack of Viceroys on the dashboard. &#8220All we need is a car hop on roller skates,” McGough laughed.

While folks were checking out cool cars, talented cookers were sending the sweet, tempting smell of barbecue across the festival area as ten teams vied for honors in the very first Blues n'‘Que competition.

Sponsored by Margaret Poole and The Smokehouse Restaurant, the competition earned Mary Lou Crenshaw and her Barbie-Q's a third place finish and $50 for their chicken entry; Kenny Harrell and the Rock Creek Cookers earned third place and $50 for their pork spareribs, while Jimmy Boswell's Greenville team, The Firehouse Smokers, took third place for beef brisket.

Earning second place honors in chicken was Big Pig Inc., Buddy Goodwin's team from Alex City. Three Little Pigs from Greenville took second place in spare ribs, while Will Leyford's team from Pascagoula, The Soggy Bottom Cookers, won second place in brisket. Each second place team won $100.

First place honors and a $150 cash prize in chicken went to Bill Mixon's Big Bad Wolf team from Auburn.

Buddy Mixon once again took honors with a first place in spare ribs and first place in beef brisket. With three ribbons under his belt, there was little surprise when Big Pig, Inc. of Alex City took the Grand Champion Trophy.

&#8220I've met a lot of nice people here today. I do plan to be back here next year,” Mixon said with a smile, as cooking competition organizer Tom Crenshaw presented him with his trophy.

&#8220We had a nice mix of both local people and folks from all over as part of our very first cooking competition,” Crenshaw said.

&#8220I feel like it's going to get bigger and better each year with even more prize monies. Many thanks to Margaret Poole and The Smokehouse for their sponsorship of this event.”

Nancy Idland, director of Main Street, signature sponsor for the event, said both Crenshaw and McGough had done &#8220a great job” bringing out-of-towners to the festival.

Kids' activities once again offered a variety of things for youngsters to enjoy.

&#8220Our kids' activities at Blues Fest continue to be a very strong part of the event. We offer so many fun things for them to do and it's all free - from the inflatable rides and games, to the face painting, caricatures, dress-up booth, and hands-on craft activities,” Idland said.

&#8220Of course, we couldn't do it all without our great AmeriCorps volunteers. Kudos to them for another job well done.”

With live music pretty much from noon until 10 p.m., Idland was very pleased with the abundance of blues offered to festival goers.

Festival goers were treated to musical sets by Ben Nelson, Rock Killough and Sonny Throckmorton, Sweet

Lovin' Daddy, The Blue Light Specials, Topper Price, Junior Thomas and Jerry &#8220Boogie” McCain, not to mention Grammy-winning blues artist Keb'Mo' in an unscheduled appearance.

&#8220We thought the music was just wonderful. Of course, it was an absolute delight to have Keb'Mo' come on stage and perform for us. What a phenomenal musician! And, yes, that is why we postponed our event for two weeks, to coincide with his shooting schedule on the movie,” Idland said.

&#8220I appreciate and want to thank everyone who played a part in making this a great event again this year.”

Next year's event will move back to mid-October, Idland said, with plans to ramp up the number of artists and artisans with their wares on display at the festival.

&#8220I feel this event is only going to get bigger and better each year. We want to continue to offer a very family-friendly, fun festival right in the heart of our city.”

Blues Fest performer Junior Thomas, back for his second event, agrees.

&#8220I think (Sweet Gum Bottom Blues Fest) is going to get bigger and bigger. I have really enjoyed being a part of it, and hope I get invited back next year.”