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February 8, 2014

Rhythm & Ribs set for March 1

TIFTON — Expect Tifton residents to start getting hungry as the aroma of barbecue drifts through the air March 1 as the first Rhythm & Ribs BBQ Festival takes place at Fulwood Park.

The new festival is a sanctioned Georgia Barbecue Association event and cookers from across the state are expected to come to Tifton to earn points toward their season championship. There will also be a “Fun Cook” division for amateurs and anyone interested in participating is encouraged to sign up. In all, more than $10,000 in cash prizes will be awarded for the area’s best barbecue.

The weekend will kick off on Friday night as well-known recording artist Edwin McCain performs at the Tift Theatre. Heath Deloach will open for McCain as doors open at 7:30 and the show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 on the day of the show. Tickets can be purchased at the Tift Theatre Box Office weekdays from 3-5 p.m. or throughout the day at Mi-Lady Bakery. Ticket information is also available at www.tiftonribsfest.com.

McCain is best known for his Top 10 hits “I’ll Be” and “I Could Not Ask For More.” Originally from South Carolina, he continues to fill venues across North America.

The entertainment will continue Saturday as seven acts will perform on the Syd Blackmarr Stage at Fulwood Park beginning at 11 a.m. The Randall Bramblett Band will headline on Saturday at 7 p.m. Bramblett has recently played with the Allman Brothers, Bonnie Raitt and Widespread Panic. All of the entertainment on Saturday is free of charge.

“This is a great chance for people around South Georgia to come to Tifton and have a great time,” said Tyron Spearman, tourism coordinator for Tift County. “We’ll have great food, great music and activities for the kids so there’s something for everybody. Since it’s a sanctioned event with the GBA, we know we’ll have some of the best cookers in Georgia here competing for points but we want our local folks to show up and compete for some of that prize money too in the professional or amateur divisions.”

The professional cooking teams will compete in three categories: pulled pork, pork loin and ribs. The amateur cookers will compete in pulled pork and ribs. Also, there are several extra categories where local citizens can enter their best poultry, sauce or cobbler creations and those do not have to be cooked on site.

In the professional division, the Grand Champion will receive $2,500 and a trophy while the Reserve Champion receives $1,000 and a trophy. Each category will have first, second and third place winners ($750, $500, $350). In the amateur division, the Grand Champion will receive $500 while the top three places in both categories will also receive payouts of $350, $250 and $150. First place in the extras categories receives $100.

There will also be a dedicated Kids’ Area which will feature bounce houses and slides, a mechanical bull, a rock climbing wall, a kids’ train and more.

The Rhythm & Ribs Festival Committee is part of the Tifton-Tift County Tourism Association and Spearman said a lot of work has been done to make this inaugural event a success. He added that the true measure of success will be determined by the crowd at the Tift Theatre and Fulwood Park that weekend.

“There are some barbecue competitions that are held but when people show up, there’s nobody selling any barbecue,” he said. “But we’ll have vendors selling barbecue and lots of other things as well. We’re still taking vendor applications too so we hope a lot of people will join us that day. Tifton has as reputation for being first class with events like this and we expect this one to be a big success.”

Anyone will questions about the barbecue contests can contact Rhythm & Ribs Chairperson Angela Elder at 386-0216 or at spearmanagency@friendlycity.net. Forms can also be obtained at the website www.tiftonribsfest.com and you can get updates via Facebook at www.facebook.com/TiftonRhythmandRibs.

Food vendors and arts and crafts vendors can contact Jessica Jones at 391-3927 or by e-mail at jjones@tifton.net.

 

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