Western Maine BBQ Festival expanded this weekend

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

FRYEBURG — Some of the best barbecue competitors in the country are expected to compete for top prizes at the second annual Western Maine BBQ Festival, set for Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 4 and 5, at the Fryeburg Fairgrounds. Last year’s festival was a big success as a fundraiser for participating District 41 Lions Clubs, with more than 11,000 people attending, and it is hoped that attendance at this year’s event will be even better.

Following on the success of the inaugural event, this year's festivities have been expanded to include the a full slate of cooking and barbecue demonstrations, an Iron Chef Competition presented by the Big Green Egg(r) company and more cooking and competition on every level.

The competition is sure to be fierce with more than 60 teams vying for the chance to be crowned Grand Champion with a shot at the National Championships in Kansas City and Kentucky. Last year’s Grand Champion winners of the Kansas City BBQ contest were the Team Lo'-N-Slo' of New Providence, Pa., who won a cash award and the chance to compete in the national championships.

In addition to being the largest celebration of barbecue held in New England, this year's event will include many new features including the Maine Mobile Motorsports Museum, with a display of classic race cars and memorabilia from Maine's past, a fantastic fireworks display Saturday starting at 10 p.m., and even more activities in the Kid's Zone. A full lineup of entertainment includes The Killah Bees Band, the Preservation Blues Band, Imari Belly Dancers, Mountain Top Kids Band, Black Cat Road Band, and the Nikki Hunt Band. There will also be a car show, mechanical bull riding, knife and tomahawk throwing, sheep dog trials and magic tricks.

The Western Maine BBQ Festival was founded by the Denmark Lions Club to provide fundraising opportunities for Maine Lions Clubs. The Lions are perhaps best known for their blindness prevention programs, but today’s Lions do so much more. Lions Club International boasts over 46,000 clubs and 1.35 million members making it the world's largest service club organization.

Take the Bridgton Lions Club, for example. They go way out on a limb to raise money, and for the second year in a row, they’ll be dropping golf balls from a helicopter to raise money for their scholarship programs and contributions to local charitable programs. Each ball is numbered to correspond to the person who “bought” it, and the golf ball that comes closest to the hole after it hits the ground wins.

The weekend features contests on both days. Saturday’s contest is sponsored by the New England Barbecue Society, and Sunday’s contest is sponsored by the Kansas City Barbeque Society. Those who come to the festival won’t be allowed to sample the competing cooks’ fare, but there will be plenty of barbecued foods around nonetheless, offered by the Lions Clubs and other vendors.

For more information call 647-4449 or visit www.westernmebbqfestival.com


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