Grill, baby, grill!

Published 12:34 am Saturday, October 4, 2008

Thousands of spectators are expected to visit Bulldog Stadium today in support of the 18 bands competing in the Fourth Annual A-Town Invitational marching band festival and dozens of volunteers will be on hand to provide concessions to the hungry crowd.

Suzanne Fairley, co-chair of concessions, along with Susan McDaniel for the A-Town Invitational, said that volunteers will be at Bulldog Stadium at 8 a.m. today to begin chopping approximately 25 pounds of tomatoes, 10 pounds of onions, prepping more than 1,200 hamburger buns and putting approximately 5,000 Coca-Cola products on ice.

“Susan and I have utilized our calculator many times to make sure we are providing the appropriate amount of food to feed the expected 18 marching bands and the family and friends that will accompany them,” Fairley said. “We are anticipating approximately 5,000 people and we hope to have enough food to feed every one of them.

“We encourage the citizens of Andalusia to come out (today) to enjoy the festival and, of course, to enjoy the food,” she added.

Numerous food items will be available from the concession stands throughout the day ranging from the staple hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza slices and boiled peanuts to candy, pickles and popcorn.

“We are proud to be a part of such a positive and enjoyable festival that promotes the talent and creativity of the Andalusia High School ‘A Sound Tradition’ Marching Band directed by Mr. Benny Shellhouse,” Fairley said. “We also look forward to watching other marching bands perform and we hope to provide them with good food and Andalusia hospitality.”

McDaniel, who also works with Fairley and other volunteers to power the visitors’ concession stand during home football games, said preparations for the A-Town Invitational include a bit more work than Friday night football games.

“We will be working for at least four hours (this morning) just to prepare for the competition and the crowd,” she said. “We expect to serve close to 500 people on a typical Friday night home game, but we will be working to prepare for 5,000 (today).

Gates open at the Bulldog Stadium at 12:30 p.m. Cost of admission will be $5 for adults and free for children under the age of 5. The Red Level “Tiger Pride” Marching Band will be the first band to take the field for competition at 2 p.m.

Band Booster president Sandy Neal said the event will be a perfect opportunity to enjoy beautiful weather, good company and quality entertainment.

“What better way to spend a beautiful Saturday than to be outdoors watching 18 bands performing at the AHS Bulldog Stadium,” Neal said. “There will be food, fun and entertainment for the entire family.

“We ask the folks of Covington County to come out and support our band festival and support the schools in our area as they perform,” she added. “We have four schools from Covington County as well as schools from all over southwest Alabama and northwest Florida.”

According to Fairley, several local businesses donated various items to help support the A-Town Invitational and make the feat of feeding 5,000 mouths possible.

“We would like to extend a special ‘thank you’ to the following businesses that have worked with us in ordering all the various food items for the band competition,” she said. “Andalusia Distributing Company, The Corner Market, Cost Plus, Dairy Queen, Cooperative Propane, Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Little Ceasar’s Pizza, Stuart Brothers Farm Supplies, Church’s Chicken and Wingard’s Produce Market.”