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Papa Joe’s Banjo-B-Que: A Family Friendly Tribute to a Local Legend

Those looking for a unique destination for a Georgia getaway should look no further than Evans. From golfing at the Bartram Trail Golf Club to fishing on Thurmond Lake, the city has something for every visitor. Make the journey, and you’ll quickly find out why the city was named one of the “Best Places to Live” by Money Magazine in 2013.


Papa Joe’s Banjo-B-Que began as a tribute to a regarded local businessman named Joe Pond, and the event has grown into one of the top BBQ events in Georgia over the past eight years. It will take place May 26-27, at the Evans Town Center Park, and organizers expect more than 12,000 attendees. The event is a fusion of a Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanctioned cook-off and a music festival. More than 66 teams will participate in the cook-off for more than $40,000 in prizes. Attendees will get to sample foods from the competition and learn how to cook like the pros at cooking demonstrations. More than 20 bands will be performing including headliners Greensky Bluegrass and The Avett Brothers. The event is also a craft beer fest and attendees will get the opportunity to sample more than 40 craft beers. We got the chance to interview Hope Meadows, Marketing and Public Relations Director for Papa Joe’s Banjo-B-Que, to learn more about this great BBQ throwdown.


RAL: How long has the event been running?

HM: Papa Joe’s Banjo-B-Que Music Festival is in its 8th year. It was created in 2010 to honor local businessman Joe Pond, bringing together his favorite things – feel-good music, finger-lickin' good barbecue, and a fun atmosphere for the entire family. All proceeds benefit the Joseph R. Pond Memorial Foundation, which gives funds to various local causes.


RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?

HM: The event brings in 12,000-16,000 patrons over the festival weekend.


RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?

HM: Our Music Festival attracts all ages, from singles to families, and children to adults! There are plenty activities for everyone to enjoy!


RAL: What makes this event unique?

HM:  We are a music festival, but we also have a KCBS (Kansas City Barbeque Society) sanctioned cook-off with a prize purse of $40,000, family-friendly activities, and over 40 craft beers, all for a single inexpensive ticket!


RAL: What activities can attendees expect?

HM: Throughout the two-day weekend, you can expect over 20 bands on two stages including Greensky Bluegrass on Friday (May 26) and The Avett Brothers on Friday (May 27)! A Smokin’ with Smithfield cooking demonstration with Pitmaster Tuffy Stone is also something you won’t want to miss. There will be plenty of barbecue food available for purchase. Our festival also features plenty of family-friendly activities for everyone of all ages to enjoy such as pig races, a petting zoo, and pony rides. Kids will have the opportunity to make a one-string pork-n-bean instrument, and learn about music and dance.


RAL: Will there be any guest appearances?

HM: Our event will feature The Avett Brothers and Greensky Bluegrass, plus 20 more bands from the region! Smokin’ with Smithfield is bringing Pitmaster Tuffy Stone to demonstrate how to cook some of the best BBQ out there!


RAL: What will patrons find for dining options?

HM: Banjo-B-Que will have a variety of food vendors featuring award-winning barbecue, southern cuisine, pizza, festival-style food, and much more. There will be something for everyone!


RAL: What is the overall environment like?

HM: When visiting our Outdoor Music & BBQ Festival, patrons can expect a small-town feel with a laid-back attitude, in which we encourage patrons to bring a blanket, chairs, and sunblock. Don’t forget to enjoy the festivities that are under way!


RAL: Our travelers like to seek out unique accommodations, where can they find these in your area?

HM: For attendees looking for unique Bed & Breakfasts, there are plenty to choose from! We have lodging in the Augusta/North Augusta area, only minutes away from the festival. The Carolina Oaks Bed and Breakfast, The Queen Anne Inn, Lookaway Inn, or Rosemary Inn are all great options. Featured hotels are available in the area and can be viewed on the Bajo-B-Que website. We also feature camping onsite or at the local and state-run campgrounds in the area.


RAL: Are there any lodging specials that are set up specifically for the event?

HM: We’ve set up a partnership with the Columbia County Convention and Visitors Bureau allowing special rates for Papa Joe’s Banjo-B-Que. To find out the participating hotels, please visit our site.


RAL: What does this event mean to the community?

HM: The event provides a great Memorial Day Weekend destination anyone in our community. Our patrons look forward to this every year.  We bring new music in from all over, as well as showcasing our local talent. Southern traditions explode with the many BBQ eats available, festival-style foods and small hometown feel. The event celebrates “Papa Joe” and what he did for his community by giving our area a great event and giving back all proceeds to this great town!

For more information about Papa Joe’s Banjo-B-Que, please visit the event website.