The four-day extravaganza of the Alabama BBQ Cookoff and Festival starts tomorrow with a school day (they should’ve called it Eating Day – read on), carries through business day Friday, festival and-fun-for-everyone day Saturday, concluding with an old-time gospel singing Sunday afternoon. The constant through all four days of the event is lots of savory BBQ and BBQ plates prepared by experts from near and far and always ready to serve to the public. Headquarters for the event is the Blount County-Oneonta Agri- Business Center.
A highlight of the festival is the competition professional BBQ cooks from out of state and from the local area. Professional BBQ contestants include DD BBQ of Snead, Cam’s BBQ of Blountsville, Cowboy’s BBQ and Rib. Co. of Weatherford, Texas, Johnson’s BBQ of Chesapeake, Va., and Big Daddy’s BBQ of Warrior. A crew from J.B. Pennington High School will cook BBQ chicken. Judging categories will include best chicken, ribs, pork, and sauce. Schedule for cookoff and festival
Thursday, April 19 – students and the public are invited to an evening of competitive eating, accompanied and followed by periods of participatory eating by students and onlookers. Admission is $2 for adults, school-aged students free. Tables and chairs provided in designated eating area at Agri-Business Center.
•4 p.m. – festival opens, inflatables ready for kids (require purchase of arm band or ride ticket)
•4 p.m. to 9 p.m. – BBQ ready for eating/takeout
•6 p.m. – banana pudding eating contest featuring local preachers*
•6:30 p.m. – BBQ eating contest featuring students representing all county schools.**
• 9 p.m. – festival closes *Partial list of preacher-competitors: Milt Hill, Kenny Mullins, Odis Epps, Jerry Epps, Jeff McAlpine, Jeff Bullard, Michael Murphree, Preston Weston, Randy Wiggins, Scotty Weston, Alex Beaube, Tyler Cantrell, Mike Painter, Eric Stone, Jerry Hackney, Larry Nail, Jeff McHan, Jonathan Smith, Robert Wamble. ** names not available at press time. Friday, April 20 – business and delivery day
•11 a.m. – festival opens; BBQ available to public at Agri-Business Center all day until close; BBQ chicken plate available for delivery to businesses anywhere in Oneonta area from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. – minimum order, 5 plates – chicken, beans, slaw, and bread – $6. Call in orders to 205-429-4101.
•11 a.m. to 10 p.m. – BBQ for adults and inflatables (tickets/arm bands required) for kids all day at Agri- Business Center; $2 admission.
•10 p.m. – festival closes. Saturday, April 21 – entertainment day with local talent and triple-rally antique car show; $2 admission.
•10 a.m. to festival opens
•10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Antique Car Show
•10 a.m. to 5 p.m.– local entertainment begins at 10 with individual acts scheduled approximately every 30 minutes in the following order: Alethea Ivey; Chelsey Wilhite; Hayden Gay; Jo Ann Bullard; Marilyn Cleveland; Harley Gresham; Maranda Childers; Dusty Morring; Masters 3 Trio; Eugene Woods and friends; Phillip Mulkey; Abrielle Mullins; LeAnn Irvin. Concludes at 5 p.m.
•10 a.m. to 10 p.m. – BBQ ready to eat or take out all day; inflatables for kids (tickets/arm bands required)
•2 p.m. to 4 p.m. – professional BBQ cookoff judging
•3 p.m. – backyard BBQ competition awards
•10 p.m. – festival closes Sunday, April 22 – gospel singing day and professional BBQ cookoff awards presentation day; $2 admission.
•10 a.m. – festival opens
•10 a.m. to 6 p.m. – BBQ ready to eat or take out from start to finish; inflatables for kids (tickets/arm bands required)
•2 p.m. to 4 p.m. – gospel singing; headlined by the Singing Commodores, also featuring Three by Grace, Ramblin’ Rows, and Dusty Morring/Peggy Rynearson /Hayden Gay
•4 p.m. – professional BBQ cookoff awards presentation
•6 p.m. – festival concludes
The first annual Alabama BBQ Cook-off and Festival is hosted as a fundraising effort of J.B. Pennington School. All proceeds will go to a general fund dedicated to meeting the needs of the entire school and its students. It will be to assure student participation in the full range of extracurricular activities at the school, from band to athletics to other activities, as well as for school equipment and supplies and individual needs of students as necessary, according to J.B. Pennington High School principal Dr. Phillip Cleveland.
The event is supported by the Blount County- Oneonta Chamber of commerce as well as by several co-sponsors: Jack’s Restaurants, Tyson Foods, St. Vincent’s Blount, and others.