BBQ Bash draws more than 5,000 to enjoy good food, music for charity

The second annual Big BBQ Bash is over, but the community is still talking about the tasty barbecue and good music during the May 9 event.

Organizers said more than 5,000 people attended the event. A final dollar amount raised is still being determined.

The Leadership Blount Class of 2007 started the party and barbecue competition as a way to raise money for charity during their Legacy Project. While told to expect only eight to 12 teams, 36 teams signed on for the first BBQ Bash. This year 32 teams competed.

The Leadership Blount class of 2007 started the event last year as a fund-raiser and legacy project and many continued this year as a core group of a larger committee. They also drew in a host of volunteers, numbering more than 100, who came to join the fun and help raise money for charity.

Overall charities for this year’s event were Helen Ross McNabb Foundation Blount County campus and the New Hope Children’s Advocacy Center and $21,000 in prize money was handed out. Winning teams split their purses, with half going to their designated charities and half going to the teams.

Thirty-two teams came from as far away as Grainger County for the competition. Many of the teams also sold food or drinks to the thousands who milled around from tent to tent while listening to music from the main stage, a flatbed trailer.

The competition site was the parking lot and lawn in front of the Alcoa Municipal Building in Springbrook Corporate Center. In the weeks before the competition, 36 judges from around the community took a three-hour class to learn how to judge and what to look for in good barbecue. Five days before event, each team cook participated in a class to learn what judges would look for while evaluating the entries.

The date for next year’s Big BBQ Bash has not been set.

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