Professional and amateur barbecue grillers will face off in two classifications at the Veteran's Day Bar-B-Que Cookoff this weekend at the Columbia County Fairgrounds on Columbia Road.
The Evans High School color guard performs at the start of Veterans Day celebrations at Evans Middle School on Monday.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
The Columbia County Recreation Department Advisory Board is sponsoring the Memphis of May barbecue cookoff, in which 19 sanctioned teams from all over the Southeast will compete for cash prizes up to $1,000 in whole-hog, shoulder and ribs classes. Backyard grillers can compete against other backyard grill masters for trophies in back and rib classes, said Rick Crawford, board member and event chairman.
"This is serious business to these guys," he said.
The teams will throw meat on the grills Friday evening and cook all night to have tender and juicy barbecue meat to be judged Saturday afternoon.
The board has scheduled a replica of the American Veterans Traveling Tribute Wall honoring Vietnam veterans. Opening ceremonies will be at 10 a.m. Friday at the fairgrounds, said Barbara Daniel, the local coordinator of the wall and volunteers to staff the exhibit. People with loved ones on the wall are welcomed to place a wreath near the name as part of a wreath-laying during the opening ceremonies.
Daniel already has some confirmations, and is looking for more veterans who will attend the ceremonies and speak about their experiences to the schoolchildren attending.
"We need all the volunteers we can get," Daniel said. "Whatever (time) they can give us, we will work with them."
Since the wall will be open 24 hours a day, volunteers are needed to man the wall from Thursday morning to Monday morning, use a computer system to locate particular names on the wall, and assist visitors.
A table ceremony for MIAs with a candlelight vigil will be at 5 p.m. Saturday. Women on the wall will be remembered at 8 a.m. Sunday. Closing ceremonies will kick off at 4 p.m. Sunday, though the wall will be on the site until Monday morning.
The celebration to kick off at 9 a.m. Saturday will feature children's rides and games, and lots of arts and craft vendors including Brad McDaniel Western Wear, A Dolls World, Sherri's Airbrush Tattoos, and vendors selling silver jewelry and walking sticks. Food vendors will sell barbecue, funnel cakes, ice cream and other treats.
Shiloh will perform live from 6 to 8 p.m. Children's entertainment will include pony rides, a climbing wall and a Moon Walk. State-of-the-art military vehicles from Fort Gordon will be on display.
"We hope it will be a real good fund-raiser for the kids in the recreation department," Mr. Crawford said.
All-day admission costs $3. Children under age 6 get in free. There is no admission to visit the memorial wall.
The event sponsors include A.B. Beverage, Coca-Cola of Augusta, Johannsen's Sporting Goods, Georgia Bank and Trust, Club Car and the Merchants Association of Columbia County.
For more information or to enter a sanctioned or backyard grilling team, contact Bobby Waters at (706) 860-2952. To volunteer for the memorial wall, call Daniel at (706) 860-2476 or Jackie Hoyt at (706) 860-4791.
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