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BBQ Boogie & Blues: Finger Licking and Finger Picking Good Times

It seems like no matter where you go in the United States, there are people claiming that their region has the best barbeque.  From the tangy tomato based sauces in Memphis, the spice-and-vinegar mixture of North Carolina, to the thick and sweet molasses style in Kansas City, one thing is certain: you could search all over for the best BBQ and the only definitive winner would be your taste buds.

Treating yourself to the delicious flavors of award winning BBQ is just half of the fun of the BBQ Boogie & Blues competition in Calhoun, Georgia that runs April 29-30th. The festival, in its 5th year, is a nationally sanctioned BBQ competition that features a something for everyone in the family to enjoy.  Live music will be on display on both Friday night and throughout the day on Saturday.

Spend the weekend tasting the barbeque of the competitors while getting down to performances by blues, country and bluegrass musical acts.  For the kids there will be a Kids Zone featuring games, face painting, and a bike safety rodeo.  There are also musical competitions featuring fiddle, banjo, buck dance, string band and traditional singing! had a chance to talk to the Director of Convention and Visitors Bureau in Gordon County Sarah Husser to learn more about the BBQ Boogie & Blues festival and what visitors can expect when visiting Calhoun!

RAL:  How long has the event been running?

SH:  This is the 5th year of BBQ Boogie & Blues

RAL:  How many annual participants do you draw?

SH: 5,000 - 10,000 depending upon weather and entertainment. Last year, the TV show BBQ Pit Wars was on-site filming so that definitely attracted a large crowd.

RAL:  What is the typical demographic makeup of the event? Children? Families? Couples?

SH:  I think it’s a good mixture. One of the best things about this event is it’s truly something for all ages. 

RAL:  What makes this event unique?

SH:  There are a number of local organizations that come together to provide residents and visitors with a fun-filled weekend. Instead of competing against each other they work together to maximize the experience.

RAL:  Take me through a day at the event.
SH:  Each day is pretty unique but ultimately involves two main activities: live music and barbeque. There is certainly

Friday, April 29
5 p.m. - Velo Vineyard Beer/Wine Garden Opens ~ Also offering a $10 BBQ Buffet
6 p.m. - Vendors Open on Court Street & Park Avenue and Kids Zone Opens in City Park
7 p.m. - 10 p.m. - Live Music on Court Street ~ Kurt Thomas (free admission)
7 p.m. ~ Georgia String Band Festival at Harris Arts Center featuring the Appalachian Ensemble from Davis & Elkins College ($15 admission)

Saturday, April 30
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - A full day of entertainment & fun! Vendors & Kids Zone Open
10 a.m. - Live Music on Court Street ~ Joseph Evans & Russell Cook with the Georgia String Band Festival
10 a.m. - Amazing Race Starts
11 a.m. - 3 p.m. - Live Music on Court Street ~ "Live Exchange Band" (free admission)
11 a.m. - 2 p.m. - People's Choice - Try the competitors' BBQ!  $10 (located outside the library)
11 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Velo Vineyard Beer/Wine Garden Open
11 a.m. - March of Dimes March For Babies Starts at City Park (Register at
11 a.m. - Appalachian Song & Dance Free Interactive Workshop @ Harris Arts Center
12 p.m. - Georgia String Band Festival* Registration Opens @ Harris Arts Center
*Competitions include fiddle, banjo, buck dance, string band and traditional singing.
1 p.m. - Georgia String Band Festival Starts @ Harris Arts Center ($10 admission/12 & under free)
1 p.m. Bike Safety Rodeo for Kids @ Dr. Tilley's Parking Lot 
4 p.m. - BBQ Competition Awards Presentation

RAL:  What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?

SH: We have three great options for lodging. One option, the Fairfield Inn & Suites opened just before last year’s BBQ Boogie & Blues.  

Fairfield Inn & Suites – (706) 629-8002 – The rate is $149 + tax
La Quinta – (706) 629-2559 – The rate is $79 + tax
Holiday Inn Express – (706) 629-8566 – “Book early & save” rate is $113 + tax

RAL:  What does this event mean to the community? 

SH:  It means a fun weekend staying local and supporting many local businesses and organizations in one location!

RAL:  Does this drive business to your local economy?

SH: Absolutely! From hotels to local restaurants, shops, non-profits, attractions and gas stations, this event drives business to the local economy.

RAL:  Does the event support a special cause in the community?

SH: There are multiple beneficiaries of the different events throughout the weekend and many vendors are actually non-profits who are raising money all weekend long.

RAL:  Does lodging hit max occupancy during the event?

SH: Not max, but certainly increases.

RAL:  Why should people come to your event?

SH:  We are driven to create memorable experiences for our travelers.

RAL:  What is going to make this experience memorable for the whole family?

SH:  The entire family - children, parents, and grandparents can come together to dine, be entertained, shop, play or compete!  When you take into account all of the fun stuff lined up, it’s an affordable weekend and you don’t need to deal with any traffic or parking hassles!



For more information about BBQ Boogie & Blues, please visit their website.