Central Alabama BBQ Festival set for Sept. 16

Published 5:35 pm Thursday, September 7, 2023

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By Scott Mims | Special to the Advertiser

Prepare your taste buds, Chilton County — the first ever Central Alabama BBQ Festival will take place Sept. 16 at Clanton City Park from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
The festival will consist of a barbecue competition, fun activities for all ages, live music, food trucks and more. Attendees will have the option to purchase a People’s Choice Award ticket, which will allow them to sample barbecue entries as well as vote for the best Boston butt.
Organizer Dylan Wallace said the event is free unless you purchase a ticket or purchase from a food truck. Each ticket represents one vote, and there is no limit to how many tickets an individual may purchase.

“I’m excited about it,” Wallace said. “I got bit by the barbecue bug, I guess, four or five years ago. I’ve been wanting to put a little competition together and it seemed like a good time to do it. I enjoy seeing people smile, laugh, cut up and have a good time, and what better way to implement that than getting together with friends and family and being surrounded by great food.”

The cooperative event is co-sponsored by ALFA Insurance, Maplesville Supermarket, Chilton Baptist Association and the Alabama State Board of Missions. In addition, the Clanton Masonic Lodge will be cooking Boston butts and there will be free barbecue sandwiches until supplies run out.
Competitors will set up the night prior and will compete in three divisions—chicken, ribs and pork butt. General rules for contest participants can be found on the website listed below.
Family-friendly activities will include inflatables for kids, craft booths, face painting, classic cars and live entertainment from the Chilton Baptist Builders Band, Death to Life, One Way Up and Jackson Cannon.

“People can just kind of mingle, talk to the barbecue teams, maybe try a sample, just hang out with friends and family,” Wallace said.

Wallace said the festival’s inspiration started during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when people could not go out to restaurants very often. More people started cooking at home and, in turn, the already-popular barbecue scene began to grow even more.

“I’ve always enjoyed cooking and grilling,” Wallace added. “I can remember cooking breakfast with my grandmother when I was 5 years old.”
Now he cooks for his family and church family “any chance I get,” he said.

Wallace said proceeds will go toward recouping the cost of the event, in hope of continuing it annually. Anything in excess will be donated to a local mission.

“It will be something that the community can look forward to attending every year,” he said. “I have a heart for Chilton County’s people, and having something the community can go to that will be fun and safe, and having something that they can look forward to going to every year, I’m excited to be a part of that.”

For more information about participating or attending, the event has its own Facebook page and website. On Facebook, it is stylized as “Central AL BBQ Festival” and the website is CentralAlabamaBBQFestival.com. Tickets may be purchased on site.