It's not too late to strut your culinary stuff at the Rhythm & Ribs BBQ Festival in Tifton, coming up next weekend.
The inaugural event will take place at Fulwood Park March 1, and is sanctioned by the Georgia Barbecue Association.
The weekend will begin with a concert by Edwin McCain at the Tift Theatre Feb. 28. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., and the concert begins at 8. You can purchase tickets in advance for $20, or pay $25 at the door. Buy your tickets at the box office at the theater from 3 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or at Mi-Lady Bakery during business hours.
On March 1, entertainment will be featured at the park on the Syd Blackmarr Stage beginning at 11 a.m. Entertainment during the day includes A Tribute to Van Morrison featuring Greg Hester with Soul Gravy, Yankee Slickers, Tracie Victoria Mattox Band, Scott Fields, Adam Smith and Josh Salter. The Randall Bramblett Band will perform at 7 p.m.
There will also be a kids' area, including bounce houses, slides, a mechanical bull, a rock climbing wall, a train and more. Vendors include arts and crafts, as well as all sorts of food.
But the real star of the show will undoubtedly be the barbecue and those preparing it. 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.
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.
Competitors who have signed up include Lightning Strike BBQ, Bethel Smokers, Smok 'N Around, Swine Time, Durt Road Smokers, Rub-Shakers-Que, Captain Jack's BBQ Crew, Buck's BBQ. Drive-by Smokers, Smokin' 42 BBQ and ET's BBQ.
There's still time to sign up for the barbecue chicken, sauce and cobbler competitions, which have prizes of $100. The entry fee is $25. These are not professional categories, and local residents are encouraged to participate.
For more information on the contests, contact Rhythm & Ribs chairperson Angela Elder at 386-0216 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can obtain forms at www.tiftonribsfest.com.