25th anniversary Barbecue Festival comes to uptown Lexington Saturday
Singer Lee Ann Womack is a big attraction at this year’s Barbecue Festival in Lexington.
The 25th annual Barbecue festival comes to Lexington this weekend.
LEXINGTON — A festive atmosphere last month opened the media luncheon for the 25th annual Lexington Barbecue Festival.
Held at Richard Childress Racing headquarters in Welcome, the event featured balloons, country music — even a stilt-walking, fire-eating juggler.
(I didn’t get too close).
The festival — a beloved Davidson County tradition — started way back in 1977, the brainchild of Joe Sink, former Dispatch publisher, and promoter Kay Saintsing.
This year’s 25th anniversary edition is set for Saturday, Oct. 25, in uptown Lexington.
The festival has grown over the years to include a variety of events and hallmarks — art, wine, racing and barbecue included.
Lexington artist Bob Timberlake and vineyard owner Richard Childress have again teamed up this year to again produce Fine Swine Wine.
Timberlake created the label and Childress Vineyards created the wine, a merlot blend.
(I’ve never had red wine with my barbecue before but what the hey.)
More than 300 vendors will be on hand for this year’s event. The festival includes appearances by country music stars, along with special attractions such as a sand sculpture, car show, the Hogway Speedway, and much more.
Nickelodeon character SpongeBob Square Pants will make special appearances at 10 a.m., noon, 2 and 4 p.m. at the Barbecue Carnival, a family-oriented area with children’s games, music and activities. It will be located on South Main Street between Second and Fourth Avenues.
Six stages of music will feature Latin, beach, swing/jazz, gospel, children’s and rock ‘n’ roll tunes. Eddie Miles, Chairmen of the Board and The Bahama Mamas are some of the scheduled acts.
The month of October has been filled with barbecue festival events, including the Tour de Pig bike race, a golf tournament, a tennis tournament, the 5K Hawg Run and the Pepsi Pig Tales writing contest.
In a town known for its barbecue, the festival features ‘cue from seven local restaurants: The Barbecue Center, Jimmy’s Barbecue, Stamey’s Barbecue, Smokey Joe’s Barbecue, John Wayne’s Lexington BBQ, Whitley’s Restaurant and Speedy’s Barbecue.
After Kay Saintsing died suddenly in 2002 at age 53, her daughter, Stephanie, took the reins as executive director.
The luncheon, she explained, was “one large thank-you event” for the participating restaurants, sponsors and volunteers.
Following the luncheon, a live auction of four pottery mugs, a pottery bowl and the first bottle of Fine Swine Wine raised more than $1,000 for the newly opened Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.
Silver Eagle Distributors is a 25-year sponsor, and Stephanie Saintsing noted that the Budweiser Clydesdales would be at this year’s festival.
Pepsi has released 3.8 million cans of the soft drink with a commemorative label.
Appearing at the popular Guitar Pull sponsored by 104.1 WTQR are Randy Hauser, Adam Gregory, Jamie Johnson, The Lost Trailers and Lee Ann Womack, who takes the stage at 1:30 p.m.
A grand finale fireworks show will conclude the festival at 9 p.m. Saturday.
Organizers have established remote parking areas and a shuttle transportation service to accommodate festival goers from the Wal-Mart Super Center parking lot off I-85 exit 91, Childress Vineyards on U.S. Hwy. 64 and the Davidson County governmental complex on North Main Street in Lexington. Round trip tickets will be $2 per person and free for children 12 and under.
For more information, go to http://www.barbecuefestival.com.