BBQ & Bluesfest

Rain or shine, the fourth annual Main Street BBQ and Bluesfest will take place this Friday and Saturday in Downtown Washington.

The family-oriented festival will feature a barbecue competition, live blues music and new this year, a washer tournament.

“We’re hoping for the sunshine, but the forecast does have some rain in it,” said Aimee Frey, event coordinator for Downtown Washington Inc., festival sponsor.

“We have a large tent so if people need to take cover it won’t be a problem,” said Frey, who expects more than 7,000 people to turn out over the two days if the weather holds.

The festival hours are Friday from 5-10 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A total of 50 teams will compete for top barbecue honors, Frey said.

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

“We have several local teams and a few new ones as well,” said Frey.

The barbecue competition is sanctioned by the Kansas City BBQ Society and 63 certified judges will select the winners.

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

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

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

“For just $7, people can taste samples from all of the 50 barbecue teams and vote for the People’s Choice award,” Frey said. “This is always a good time. The teams love to interact with the visitors and you won’t leave hungry. In fact we tell people not to eat before they come.”

Participants will be able to taste a 1-ounce sample of pork from each team and vote for their favorite.

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

The musical 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.

New this year is a small washer tournament planned for Friday, beginning at 6 p.m. This event replaced the hot dog eating contest.

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

Williams 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.