Rain or shine, the fifth annual Main Street BBQ & Bluesfest is taking place this weekend in Downtown Washington.
The festival, featuring a professional barbecue competition and live blues music, was scheduled to open Friday night and run through Saturday.
Visitors can enjoy the music, full food court and a barbecue tasting event, said Aimee Frey, event coordinator for Downtown Washington Inc., which sponsors the family-oriented event.
“It looks like the rain will clear out and we should have good weather,” she said. “The forecast is calling for sunshine and 64 on Saturday so that’s just about perfect. But rain or shine, the event will go on and we have plenty of covered areas if we do get a little bit of rain.”
Frey said the barbecue teams started setting up as early as 7 a.m. Friday so they were ready to go at 5 p.m. when the event started. The festival was scheduled to run until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
A total of 50 teams are competing 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.
The teams are cooking on the Main and Cedar parking lot, while the entertainment and food court are on the Main and Elm parking lot. The Farmers’ Market will maintain its regular Saturday hours.
A People’s Choice event will 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 Frey, who is still looking for more volunteers to help pass out the samples so the teams can focus on their cooking.
Anyone interested in helping should be at the entry tent at Main and Cedar streets at 1:30 p.m.
“The amount of meat is limited for the People’s Choice, so I always tell people to get there early because there will be a line,” Frey said. “Last year, we sold over 500 wristbands.”
The live music was scheduled to kick off 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 awards will be presented at about 4:30 p.m. with the event wrapping up about 5 p.m.
Frey said she expects close to 6,000 people to turn out over the two days.
Formerly known as the Cruise With the Blues, the event was expanded five years ago to include the professional barbecue competition, along with live blues music.