With temperatures expected to be in the 70s this weekend, Downtown Washington Inc. is expecting big crowds for its sixth annual Main Street BBQ & Bluesfest which opens Friday night and runs through Saturday.
“The weather is looking great for this weekend,” said Alex Hodschayan, event coordinator. “If that holds, we think that we will have more than the 6,000 we saw last year.”
Hodschayan said there will be 50 teams competing in the professional barbecue contest, great live blues bands performing and fun for everyone in the family to enjoy throughout the weekend.
XBox One will be set up both days on Main Street for children and adults alike to test their skills on the new gaming platform, he said.
There also will be a full food court and a public barbecue tasting event, Hodschayan said.
“Something new this year will be a mechanical bull that those 18 and older can ride for $5,” he said. “The bull will be set up along Main Street in front of the Bank of Washington both days.”
Festival hours are Friday from 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The musical lineup is the same as last year with Brian Curran Friday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. followed by the BagLunch Blues Band from 7 to 10 p.m.
On Saturday, the Paul Cockrum Trio will perform from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., followed by Kingdom Brothers, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
The barbecue teams will compete for the title of grand champion, along with trophies, ribbons and cash prizes. A slate of 63 judges will select the winners.
The competition, sanctioned by the Kansas City BBQ Society, is not open to the public, but people can watch the teams as they cook, Hodschayan said.
The teams will be cooking on the Main and Cedar parking lot, with some teams on Cedar Street, while the entertainment and food court will be set up on the Main and Elm parking lot.
Friday night will again feature an “Anything But” side competition for the teams, in which they can enter any food item cooked on a grill that does not include meat as the main ingredient.
A People’s Choice event will again take place Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m., which is open to the public.
“For only $7, people can enjoy a 1-ounce sample of pork from each team and then vote for their favorite,” said Hodschayan. He said the amount of meat is limited for the People’s Choice, so people should get there early.
The family-oriented event will be held rain or shine, he added.
The barbecue awards will be presented at about 4:30 p.m. Saturday with the event wrapping up about 5 p.m.
Formerly known as the Cruise With the Blues, the event was expanded six years ago to include the professional barbecue competition, along with live blues music.