BBQ Festival draws thousands - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

BBQ Festival draws thousands

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November 3, 2006

Douglas - - It's a nationwide expo right in South Georgia that brings cooks together for one thing... barbecue. It's all about who's got the best.

Beyond the smoke, the atmosphere is friendly. But for Lionel Cunningham of "Big Daddy But Rub BBQ," this is a serious matter.

"I stay up first shift and make sure it's....steady 200 degrees."

His company travels the country for competitions like this and they mean serious business. Last year, they won 1st place in one of the categories here and they plan to do it again with their number one specialty.

"The sauces and the spices. We make them from scratch. We used everything that you see in the competition even our competition uses them."

He has tons of trophies to prove his success. Not so fast, says his neighbor.

"I wish everyone luck, but there's only going to be one person," says Stephanie Wilson of TheSlabs.com BBQ.

She's from the capital of barbecue. Yep, Kansas City, located in the show me state. And she showed us why she's cooking up some barbecue pork that could give Cunningham a run for his money.

"We like to think that we do. We do over 30 competitions a year."

Barbecue is not the only thing you will find out here. How about some fresh squeezed lemonade or some homemade dessert just like your Aunt Mary's.

"They tell me I don't like potato pie and I say just taste it and when they get a taste of mine, I can't get rid of them," says the operator of Aunt Mary's Pies.

This is the 5th year organizers have put this on and each year brings more grills and more people thrilled to get a taste.

"The ones that are competing today are the best of the best, they are the top in their barbecue associations for the year."

Thousands of dollars in award money is at stake. And no matter how you grill it, all want a piece of the pie.

"We expect to be hopefully a grand champion," Cunningham concludes.

Last year's festival drew 40,000 people. The event continues tonight and wraps up tomorrow night.

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