River Town Days sure to impress again

Published 7:39 pm Friday, March 6, 2015

Next weekend will be the culmination of many hours of hard work by numerous volunteers and the staff of The Bainbridge-Decatur County Chamber of Commerce. Yes, next weekend is the River Town Days and the Flames on the Flint BBQ competition.

If you have never attended River Town Days, now is the time to come have a great, fun-filled weekend at a very nominal cost. In fact, entrance into the event is free.

If you have attended River Town Days in the past, you will recognize some of the returning attractions and, at the same time, will be pleasantly surprised at some of the additions.

Email newsletter signup

Although the festival does not officially begin until Friday night at 5, some of the professional BBQ teams will begin rolling into Bainbridge and the Earle May Boat Basin on Thursday night for the Flames on the Flint.

That event has grown to exceed just about everyone’s expectations in just 18 short months.

In November 2013, a few people, at the suggestion of Ronnie Godwin, sat around a table and began discussing holding a BBQ event at the 2014 River Town Days. The group pulled it off and 43 teams competed in the inaugural event last year. It was a big success and the competing teams had nothing but positive comments about the setting along the Flint River and the hospitality of our community.

Well, this year the event has grown to 73 teams as I write this, and will most likely reach our maximum of 75 teams by next week. Among those 73 registered teams are the best of the best in the competitive cooking world, with 30 winning grand championships at other events.

These guys are serious cookers. And, they will be competing for a $30,000 total prize purse.

You will be able to sample some of the best BBQ in the world on Saturday as Family Connection sponsors the People’s Choice award. So, you can eat lunch Saturday with 12 samples of world-class BBQ for only $10 and vote on the sample that you enjoyed the most.

But, before all the excitement of Saturday’s BBQ competition, you can enjoy a great show by Fly By Radio, a 1980s rock cover band that will put on a great show. This is a return to Bainbridge for this group as you might remember they performed several years ago at the Fourth of July celebration at the boat basin. The reviews were great, so it was decided to invite them back.

The music will continue on Saturday when Midnight Rain performs at 1 p.m. I have been lucky enough to be involved in the planning of River Town Days for the past several years and, personally, I have always wanted to have a Bluegrass band perform.

This Bluegrass group from Thomasville is really good and was scheduled to perform on Sunday afternoon at last year’s River Town Days, but the heavy rain caused the cancellation of all events.

And, then at 3, Brandon Vann will take the stage to perform his brand of acoustic country music. Brandon is also making his second visit to Bainbridge. He did a great job at last year’s event.

The new attractions this year include a blacksmith and knife-making exhibition planned by local artisan Bob Stott. These folks will be on hand practicing a lost art, blacksmithing, and Bob has even said that there will be some hands-on opportunities for attendees.

In addition, there will be a 5K road race, a children’s bike race and the Lake Seminole Open bass tournament sponsored by the City of Bainbridge, numerous arts and crafts vendors, and many other food vendors on hand.

So, make your plans now to attend the biggest annual festival in this area next weekend at River Town Days.