News-Sun file The Central Florida Bar-B-Que Festival will offer plenty of good eats this weekend.
published: Wednesday, November 28, 2012
BBQ Fest 'beefs up' this year
By SAMANTHA GHOLAR
SEBRING - Barbecue lovers get ready for a tasty weekend as the annual Central Florida Barbecue Festival, created by the Sebring Firemen Inc., returns to the city in a big way.
Beginning at noon Friday, barbecue teams from all over Florida will begin cooking up tasty dishes for festival-goers and, of course, judges. The BBQ Fest is the last statewide event this year before The Florida Barbecue Association State Championship.
Event chairman Jim Fortner expects a larger-than-normal turnout at this year's Fest due to a tight race for the Team of the Year (TOTY) title.
"The good news is that this is the last barbecue event before the FBA championship ... it's the last chance for teams to get point. We will have well over 30 entries for teams, which is about our average," Fortner said.
Of course, the more entries and meals sold, the more funds go to support the Sebring schools and athletics. Each year, Sebring Firemen Inc. contribute approximately $35,000 to the schools, according to Fortner. The BBQ Festival helps provide a big portion of that money.
"Every dime we raise goes to support the kids and the athletics in Sebring. We have been branching out to the arts also. We will be raising money to help support the high school choir and other things," Fortner said.
A new aspect has been added to the BBQ Fest tradition this year, however; a classic car show will provide more for the eyes this year as the bellies of judges and patrons stay full.
The custom car show will provide 12 classes of cars all competing for a title of best in show. Fortner is hoping to get 40-50 cars for its first run and to provide patrons with a little something extra this year.
"This year's festival follows the same format, but the car show gives people something else to do while they're eating and drinking and enjoying the day," Fortner said. A total of $9,000 is up for grabs for the contestants in the barbecue cook-off contest.
Other contests include a hog calling contest, apple pie contest and the People's Choice award for the barbecue.
FBA certified judges will begin judging at noon Saturday. A blind taste test will be held for the four barbecue categories - chicken, brisket, pork and ribs. Awards will be handed out for the barbecue team winners at 6 p.m.
Between each of the contests, local musicians will provide live entertainment for patrons throughout the day. Jimmy and the Megabytes will take the stage from 7-10 p.m. Friday. Saturday brings the California Toe Jam Band on stage from 1-5 p.m. The car show will be held from 1-4 p.m.
The Central Florida Barbecue Festival takes place at Firemen's Field and begins at 10 a.m. Friday through Saturday, Dec. 1. The festival is free admission and a variety of vendors will be available for food purchases.
'Pig bucks' must be purchased from the Heacock booth in order to buy vendor and contestant meals during the festival. Beer and other beverages may be purchased with cash. Food prices vary from vendor to vendor.
Small Banner Ads