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Opp ‘BBQ Bash’ set for weekend

The smells of barbecued Boston butts, chicken and ribs will fill the air in downtown Opp this weekend as the city’s Downtown Revitalization Authority (DRA) holds its first annual “Backyard BBQ Bash.”

The event will be Friday and Saturday in downtown Opp, in the parking lot behind Wachovia Bank. Teams will compete to see who can make the tastiest barbecue in the three categories of Boston butt, chicken and ribs.

“This is something we’d like to do every year, eventually,” DRA president Bart Boothe said. “It’s an effort to get people to enjoy downtown Opp and visit there more. We’re hoping to make it to where the DRA hosts an event every quarter, like our yard sale and the Opp Fest.”

Boothe said the idea for the Bash came from DRA member Brett Ballard, who had seen a similar event in Elba.

“I went over to Elba last year and they have their own event called the Soggy Bottom Barbecue Bash,” Ballard said. “They’ve been holding it for several years, and it’s just become a huge event for them. I hope that maybe we can build ours up, as well.”

For a single entry fee of $100, teams can enter in as many of the three categories as they wish. The ribs and chicken categories will have a first place prize of $200, second place prize of $100 and third place prize of $75. In addition, teams can compete for the $500 prize for Grand Champion — teams must participate in both the chicken and ribs categories to be eligible. A panel of judges will determine the winners in these categories.

All teams can also enter the “People’s Choice” competition, where each team will cook one Boston butt donated by Kelley Foods of Elba. Tickets will be available for $5, and will allow visitors to taste each of the Boston butts and vote for their favorite.

The winning team for the People’s Choice will get $300.

Friday, teams will begin setting up at 4 p.m. and meat will be inspected later that evening. Saturday, teams are asked to report to their cook sites at 7 a.m. The People’s Choice taste testing will begin around 11 a.m.

Boothe said most teams have already entered, but last-minute contestants can still register as long as they do so today.

“We’ve got space for 25 teams, and right now we’ve only gotten 12 or so to sign up,” Boothe said. “You can still register, but we have to know before Friday.”

Teams who still wish to register for the Bash can call Boothe at 493-2265 or Ballard at 334-493-8100.