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Jim Blaylock
One of the trucks awaits setup at Evans Towne Center Park, where the third annual Papa Joe's Banjo-B-Que begins Thursday.

Banjo-B-Que brings bluegrass, barbecue to Evans

Setup for festival underway at Towne Center Park

Posted: May 22, 2012 - 11:00pm  |  Updated: May 24, 2012 - 8:53pm
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Bobby and Belinda Roberts are part of the Two Old Men & A Grill competition cooking team that is here fro the Banjo-B-Que competition at Evans Towne Center Park.  Jim Blaylock
Jim Blaylock
Bobby and Belinda Roberts are part of the Two Old Men & A Grill competition cooking team that is here fro the Banjo-B-Que competition at Evans Towne Center Park.

 As trucks and trailers and RVs pulled into Evans Towne Center Park Thursday afternoon, the Fatback's BBQ and Rib Shack team put the finishing touches on their barbecue camp.

Brothers Corey and Bobby Brinson and friend Rick Edwards planned to relax for the evening before they fire up the smoker for the third annual Papa Joe's Banjo-B-Que Bluegrass Festival and Barbecue Cook-Off.

The festival, sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, begins at 5 p.m. Friday. Live entertainment and other events will continue Saturday at 11 a.m.

"I'm pretty confident in our ribs, and our chicken," Bobby Brinson said of the not-so-amateur cooking team who will put a gravity-fed charcoal smoker to good use.

"We're going to cook everything in there," said Corey Brinson, who runs a mobile barbecue business in Fayetteville, N.C.

Fatback's is one of 60 cooking teams expected to compete for $40,000 in prize money. They have the option of preparing meats in four categories - chicken, ribs, pork and brisket - and compete for the $5,000 Grand Champion prize.

"The barbecue is delicious," said Doug Varnadore, vice-president of event sponsor A.B. Beverage. "We get to taste the leftovers."

Varnadore and his wife, Cathy, started the festival to honor his father-in-law, Joseph R. "Papa Joe" Pond. The second generation owner of A.B. Beverage, who died in 2006, loved bluegrass and barbecue.
"It's all the things he loved," event organizer Christy Beckham said.

The festival features two stages of live music both days, including bluegrass acts Drive-By Truckers and Ketch and Critter from Old Crow Medicine Show on Saturday evening. Mountain Heart will headline Friday evening.

Friday evening begins with a "bragging rights" steak cook-off by the cooking teams and a Kids Cook-Off, where children can register to grill burgers for prizes.

The barbecue cooking teams will face off Saturday. Many of the teams will sell their barbecue.

The festival, which took place in North Augusta's Hippodrome in 2010 and 2011, is a stop on the Great American BBQ Tour and the Kingsford Points Tour Chase.

Varnadore said a "saloon" will carry a large selection of craft beer.

"A lot of these craft beers are more flavorful," Varnadore said.

The festival is a family event with pig races, petting zoo and a playground.

"It's such a feel-good event," Beckham said. "It's different than anything else you're going to go to. ... We want people to come out and enjoy it."

Tickets to the festival cost $35, with a $5 discount for those with military identifications and active law enforcement. Kids 12 and younger get in free.

The festival benefits the Joseph R. Pond Memorial Foundation, which donates to local charities through the CSRA Community Foundation.

Tickets are available for purchase at A.B. Beverage in Evans and Aiken, Com­mu­nigraphics and Fireside Outdoor Kitchens and Grills.

For more information or to register, visit or call (706) 855-8555.


When: 5-11 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday

Where: Evans Towne Center Park

Admission: $35, $5 discount for military and law enforcement. Free for children 12 and younger

More: or (706) 855-8555



Displaced by the larger Memorial Day event, Columbia County’s annual Red, White and Blue Veterans Celebration is moving to Veterans Day weekend/PAGE 5

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Comments (10)


Each year, this festival

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Andrew Cowan

Through such initiatives it

Through such initiatives it would be so much easier to offer a helping hand to the charities who need support. However, there are some charities which take a different approach like Sing for Hope which helps people through various mediums of art. You can find more about this at


Those who love barbecues,

Those who love barbecues, should definitely attend this upcoming festival. The dishes will be tasty, no doubt, but if you can't get there in time, you should stop by the Chadwicks Pub to try their meat specialties. It's nice to change the setting once in a while, so you won't regret it!



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Paul Ricca

The event of course attracted

The event of course attracted many foodies who had a rollicking time eating there. However, to eat exotic food you do not always have to rush to a restaurants, it would be better and healthier if you make these items at home. Now from fish to baking chocolate, you can find all sorts of ingredients online.

Paul Ricca

This competition is certainly

This competition is certainly going to bring out the best in everybody. However, there should also be competitions for the bakers where they can present best cake decoration including gelatin art.

Andrew Cowan

Such festivals are great for

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