BBQ & Bluesfest

Fifty teams will compete next weekend for top barbecue honors at the fourth annual Main Street BBQ & Bluesfest.

The event is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, April 20-21, in Downtown Washington.

The two-day, family-oriented festival features a barbecue competition and live blues music among other activities. The event is sponsored by Downtown Washington Inc.

Hours have been shortened this year compared to last year’s event.

The 2012 festival will run from 5-10 p.m. Friday, April 20, and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 21.

Another change organizers made this year will be to hold a small washer tournament Friday, April 20, at 6 p.m. instead of the usual hot dog eating contest.

The barbecue teams will be set up along Main Street and the parking lot at Main and Cedar streets. They will begin cooking Friday night and continue through Saturday afternoon.

Of the 50 teams competing in the barbecue contest, about a half dozen are local, according to Aimee Frey, event coordinator for Downtown Washington Inc.

The barbecue competition is sanctioned by the Kansas City BBQ Society.

Frey said this year there will be 63 certified judges who will judge the entries.

Trophies, ribbons and cash prizes will again be awarded to the top winners.

The barbecue awards will be announced Saturday, April 21, at about 4:45 p.m.

Before the awards ceremony April 21, a special tasting event open to the public will be held from 2-4 p.m.

For $7, people can taste samples from all of the 50 barbecue teams and vote for the People’s Choice award.

“It’s a fun little side of the event,” Frey said. “People can taste a 1-ounce sample of pork and vote for their favorite. This is the only time people can taste. People also get a chance to talk to the teams. ”

Along with the barbecue, live entertainment and a full food court will be featured both days at the Main and Elm streets parking lot.

The lineup for Friday incudes Brian Curran, from 4:30-6:30 p.m., and Bag-Lunch Blues Band, from 7-10 p.m.

On Saturday, The Paul Cockrum Trio will play from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., followed by the Kingdom Brothers, from 1:30-4:30 p.m.

In addition to Downtown Washington, Inc. and the Kansas City BBQ Society, some of the other sponsors for this year’s event are as follows:

William Brothers Meat Market, Hodges Badge Company, Inc., Riverview Bed & Breakfast, Bank of Franklin County, Pepsi Cola Bottling Company of New Haven, Grey Eagle Distributors, Gateway BBQ Store, Budweiser and Bank of Washington.