Smokin' in the Valley

WNC's official barbecue festival returns to Maggie Valley
Jul 23, 2014
Amelia, a micro pot belly pig, is the mascot for the 2014 Western North Carolina BBQ Festival in Maggie Valley.

If you want to taste some of the tastiest, mouth-watering barbecue and watch bad boys compete at cooking, check out the “Smokin’ in the Valley” Western North Carolina BBQ Festival this weekend at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds.

Surrounded by the Great Smoky Mountains where festivities reign supreme, the Maggie Valley Chamber of Commerce sponsors a hog’s heaven of delight from noon to 9 p.m. on Friday, July 25 and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 26.

Admission is $6 for adults; $3 children ages 6 – 12. Admission is free for children under 6. Two-day passes cost $10 for adults; $5 for children.

The official barbecue mascot, Amelia, the micro pot belly pig, will be greeting festival goers and is available opportunity for photo ops at the festival.

In 2013, this festival drew 48 professional sauce sorcerers from North Carolina to Alabama to compete for the grand champion prize of $2,000, bragging rights and a trophy. Last year, the slate of 48 teams included Myron Mixon’s team from the hit show "BBQ Pitmasters."

Myron Mixon Smokers were on display as well. Among the celebrity cookers this year are Corey “Fatback” Brinson, season three’s runner up featuring Fatback’s Rib and BBQ Shack. This season of BBQ Pitmaster Carl Lewis’ Big Show BBQ was the first place North Carolina team. Lewis also will be joining the competition this year in Maggie Valley.

The festival will continue a new competition this year — A WNC Point Chase Competition in which cookers who compete in both WNC competitions in Maggie Valley and Franklin events, will be automatically entered in this $1,500 purse, paying out first and second places.

This event is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society — the world’s largest organization of barbecue and grilling enthusiasts. The focus for the competition will be cooking abilities for chicken, pork, pork ribs, and beef brisket.

In addition, there is a “Tastin’ Tent” where the public can purchase $10 tickets to taste BBQ samples from the competing teams and vote for their favorite flavor. The winning team will be given a “Maggie’s Best” trophy and prize money. Tickets are limited to 150; two seatings available.

“Barbecue is an art form with traditions handed down from generation to generation” said Teresa Smith, executive director of the Maggie Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Teams in the past have cooked on single grills while others have had $50,000 cookers, Smith said, addition that attendees can walk among and talk with the competition cookers and view their booths.

The festival highlights include live bluegrass, country, and folk music; arts and crafts vendors, chainsaw art demonstrations, and a free Kid’s Zone. A special appearance from Bubba Bear from the Cherokee Fun Park from noon to 4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Barbecue browsers are encouraged to bring blankets, chairs, stroller, and pets (no personal coolers) to this family event, which has an average attendance of 8,000 people.

Also on Friday, the “Anything Butt Dessert” and “Anything Butt Meat” competitions will be judged by local VIP celebrities.

Beer, Wine and Swine, a local restaurant competition, will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday with WNC restaurants preparing chopped pork paired with wine and micro brewed beer samples. There is a $10 admission and participants get to sample barbecue with five sauces — tomato, vinegar, mustard, sweet, and hot and spicy. The best local restaurant will receive a cash prize and an award along with area bragging rights.

Awards ceremony will be held at 5 p.m. Saturday featuring the winners from the four competition categories and the NC Governor’s Trophy, Maggie’s Best People’s Choice Award, and Anything  Dessert and Anything Meat awards.

For more information call 828-926-1686 or visit our website www.wncbbqfestival.org

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