Country club lights up smokers for second annual barbecue festival

Published 6:29 pm Friday, August 1, 2014

Barbecue cook-offs are a proud tradition—one that Bainbridge will embrace fully next weekend at Bainbridge Country Club for the second annual Smoke Under the Oaks BBQ Festival.

Scheduled Aug. 8-9, this year’s event has more than a few surprises in store for attendees and competitors, including an increased cash payout of $12,500, concerts and raffle prizes.

“Our first event set records in the Florida Bar-B-Que Association for first year events, and this year’s event looks to be bigger and better,” Smoke Under the Oaks event organizer Rob McRae said.

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More than 45 of the top barbecue teams in the country will be competing, 20 of which have been ranked in the top 100 teams by the National BBQ Rankings, McRae said. In addition to a hefty cash prize, the winner will also earn a spot in the World BBQ Championship in Las Vegas, Nevada this November.

Barbecue fans with a craving to taste what the teams are cooking up will have a chance through the Dixie Dandy People’s Choice contest. Eighteen of the teams will cook pork for the public to blind judge and choose a winner.

“I am really excited about this year’s People’s Choice contest,” McRae said. “It will allow the public to taste barbecue from some of the best cooks in the country.”

Friday’s schedule will be capped off with performances from the Faith Jackson Band from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. followed by The Blues Factor Band from 9 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. The concert entry fee is $10, and all proceeds go to Decatur County Family Connection and the Humane Society.

“Family Connection is excited to be partnering with the country club and the Humane Society for this great event,” Family Connection Coordinator Ronnie Burke said. “It will bring a lot of visitors to our great community.”

Starting Saturday morning, youth interested in the outdoors will have access to an air gun range, fishing, wood duck box building and much more with the National Wild Turkey Federation J.A.K.E.S. Day Program—Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship.

“For more than 30 years, NWTF has focused on an outreach program to the youth known as the JAKES program,” Sean Hader, president of Lake Seminole Spurs Upland Chapter of NWTF said. “We believe that the JAKES Day Outdoor Carnival at Smoke Under the Oaks is a perfect team that is bringing a constantly growing and popular event to Bainbridge and Decatur County.”

Attendees who enter the raffle contest will have a chance of bringing home a Big Green Egg and a Holland Companion Grill. Tickets can be purchased for $20 at Stone’s Home Center and will be available at the festival. The raffle will be drawn Saturday after the barbecue champion is announced.

The entree fee for the festival will be $5 for adults and free for kids 15 and under.

“I would like to thank all of our sponsors and volunteers that have been incredibly generous with both their time and money,” McRae said. “Without their support, we wouldn’t be able to have this event and raise money for these great local charities.”