This year has been incredibly hard for educators facing budget cuts. To help lighten the impact of the cuts, Communities in Schools of Cumberland County will host a fundraiser The All-American BBQ Festival and 5K on Saturday, Nov. 2 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Festival Park.
“In North Carolina, barbecue is right up there with college basketball,” said Cindy Kowal, executive director of Communities in Schools of Cumberland County. “The event makes for a wonderful way for Communities in Schools to bring everyone in the community together around something that is centrally important to all of us: kids and education.”
Kowal added that the most important reason for the event is that it is giving back to the kids in Cumberland County Schools.
The festival will kick-off with the one-mile fun walk and 5K run. The first 300 runners will receive a T-shirt with the logo. The BBQ competition is hosted by Corey Brinson and BBQ Chef Eddie Smith. Only 25 teams can compete. The categories include chicken, ribs (spares or baby backs) and pork (Boston Butt). You must cook in all three categories to compete for the title of grand champion.
“The BBQ teams will begin arriving on Friday afternoon to Festival Park,” said Kowal. “They will camp out Friday night into Saturday morning tending to their grills.”
Judging will start around 1 p.m. on Saturday. The grand champion will win $1,500 and the reserve grand champion will win $750. There are first, second, third, fourth and fifth place awards with monetary awards and a trophy. There is a $175 team registration fee.
The festival will have a Kid’s Zone with bouncy houses and a climbing wall. Four bands, from all over the state, will perform throughout the day: Red June from Asheville, Ted Jones & the Tarheel Boys from Raleigh, Six Pack of Gentleman from Southport and Old Habits from Raleigh.
“Great music is planned for the whole afternoon,” said Kowal. “Also local and out-of-town vendors will be selling barbecue, hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken wings and barbecue chicken in the park.”
Participants can also sample beer. “We are marketing to 10 counties and have billboards up everywhere to spread the word,” said Kowal. “We want to showcase our city for a fun day not just for our community but the region.”
Kowal added that her goal is for Festival Park to fill to capacity and for everyone to have a great time so they will come back again next year.
Admission for kids under the age of 12 is free. Tickets for general admission are $5. Beer lovers all-access is $25; beer lovers all access (teacher and military discount with badge) is $20; and VIP tickets are $35. If you want to participate in the 5K run, registration is $25; $30.00 to run the race and have access to the park; and $40.00 to run the race and receive an armband. For more information, visit www.whenpigsflybbqfestival.com or call 221-8800.