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Ridgefield Hosting Two National BBQ Contests This Weekend

New England BBQ Society and Kansas City BBQ Society members compete this weekend at the Ridgefield Gone County Festival.

BBQ turkey legs from Holy Smoke BBQ. Contributed Photo
BBQ turkey legs from Holy Smoke BBQ. Contributed Photo
The streets of downtown Ridgefield will be filled with the savory aromas, sights and sounds of real “pit bosses” on Saturday and Sunday, May 3 and 4, for the Ridgefield Gone Country Barbecue Festival.  

For the first time, Ridgefield is hosting two national barbecue competitions, and the grounds of the historic Lounsbury House (a.k.a., the Community Center) will be transformed into a carnival with food, entertainment, games, rides, live music and lots of family fun.

Thousands are expected to attend the two-day festival organized and benefitting the Ridgefield Rotary and Ridgefield Community Center and sponsored by Pamby Motors.

“Everyone’s invited to enjoy the thrill of the grill,” said Rich Vazzana, chair of the event and president of the Community Center. “There will be something for every taste and every age.”

Multiple food vendors will be offering: barbecue selections (Holy Smoke BBQ, The Cookhouse, Wire Mill BBQ, Bistro 7); Vanchetta; pizza and pasta (Piccolo Pizza); smoothies and ices (Rita’s Ices and Maui Wowi); potatoes and more from the Spud Stud; as well as several other choices. There will also be a Farmer’s Market on site.  

A professional carnival game company has been contracted for a large selection of games and prizes.  Rides will include a merry-go-round, teacups, ferris wheel, and even a mechanical bull. There will also be a magician, professional face painters, and a balloon artist to entertain.  

The New England BBQ Society (NEBS) competition will take place all day Saturday, and the Kansas City BBQ Society (KCBS) will compete on Sunday. KCBS is the largest non-profit group dedicated to the art hardwood smoking, and sanctions several hundred contests each year. NEBS offers New England grillers the opportunity to learn Southern style barbecue techniques, whether using wood, charcoal, or even gas.

Nearly 20 teams will be vying for trophies and cash prizes in categories including pork, ribs, chicken, brisket, and even pizza. (Competition rules prohibit participants from selling their entries to the public, but there will be plenty of other bbq available). Winners will be announced each day at 4 p.m.

However, Vazzana says the biggest winners will be the folks who attend this festival.

“It’s a great weekend to be in Ridgefield,” he said. “Everyone can swine, dine and unwind all in one place.”

Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for students 12-18. Children under 12 are admitted free. A discount will be offered for admission to both days. Proceeds will go to the non-profit Ridgefield Rotary and Ridgefield Community Center. The BBQ Festival is occurring in conjunction with Downtown Ridgefield “Ridgefield’s Gone Country” event on Saturday, featuring entertainment on Bailey Avenue and along Main Street.

Saturday’s BBQ Fest hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Radio station KICKS 105.5 will do a live remote from 2-4 p.m. Live music throughout the day includes Tasha & G (bluegrass duet from Bridgeport and Bethany), JAM Theory (classic/pop/ rock from Ridgefield and Fairfield), the Bandolins (a New Fairfield bluegrass band). The evening’s featured band will be Candlewood, a Southern and classic rock band from New Fairfield.

Sunday’s hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Music will be provided by Georgie Brennan (Ridgefield) and Mojo Filtered (classic rock from Ridgefield). Artie Tobia (New Rochelle) will close out the festival.

The sponsors for the Ridgefield Gone Country BBQ Festival include Pamby Motors as the main event sponsor, PepsiCo, VS Shows Promotions, Ridgefield Magazine, Ridgefield Hardware, All Season Party & Tent Rentals, and Ciota Legal Group.  Several local businesses have generously donated items necessary for the event, including generators and hoses from Ridgefield Hardware, popcorn and a photo booth from the Prospector Theater, and entertainment from private benefactors, amongst others.  
 
Vendors and entertainment are being added daily. For more information, visit www.ridgefieldbbqct.com.

Based off a release from Barbara Faye Public Relations.

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