By Gary Perkins
We are just a few days away from Fort Gibson's largest annual event, the 4th annual "Smokin' the Fort BBQ & Bluegrass Festival."
Beginning Friday, professional BBQers will start arriving downtown and begin setup for this year's KCBS sanctioned and Governor Mary Fallin's officially proclaimed state championship barbecue event.
We are expecting the largest number of both KCBS and Taster's Choice competitors since our event started. We are receiving calls and emails daily from new teams, vendors, and sponsors wanting to be part of this year's happenings.
Everything will kick off about 5 p.m. Friday, with the teams starting to fill the air with that great barbecue aroma, music being played by DJ Cody Busch, some local vendors setting up (Note: All local churches and clubs are invited to set up booths Friday evening only, free of charge, for any fundraising effort they may want to have.), a "Meet the Cooks" party and cooking competition in the form of "Kids Que" and "Anything Goes."
Kids Que consists of any one under the age of 16 cooking any meat they desire, with $100 in prizes, along with plaques for the top three entries.
Anything Goes, also known as "Anything But," because anything may be prepared except the specific meats that are part of the KCBS competition, namely chicken, spare ribs and loin ribs, pork shoulder or butt, and beef brisket.
Any other part of the animal, or any other meat, such as duck, Cornish hens, wild game, seafood, turkey, veal or meat purchased at a grocery store are acceptable.
The winner will receive $200 plus a banner. There are a few additional rules for both these contests that can be obtained prior to entry. Both of these competitions have an entry fee of $20 each, and will be judged. The music and festivities will continue on Friday evening until 10 p.m. or so. Saturday starts the real fun, with the competition is full swing, live Bluegrass music starting at 10 a.m., featuring The Meyer Family, The Park Family and SpringStreet. The Taster's Choice competition will be the highlight for the public, as they are able to taste all the different barbecue delights and vote on their favorite for $1,000 in cash prizes. Taster kits will be available for $5, which will allow each person unlimited tasting of the barbecue, along with a drink of their choice.
Additionally, other food vendors will be set up to supplement your every appetite. Each vendor is under the rule of not selling any meat products or drinks, however, as that is the role of the BBQers and the function of the taster kits.
Also, many different types of merchandise vendors will be there to enhance your shopping pleasure. Plus, the official T-shirt will be available, featuring Beauregard the Bull and a few of his friends.
The KCBS competitors will be vying for $6,000 in cash prizes and coveted "Grand Master" and "Reserve Champion" titles. You won't want to miss this year's special shirt. In all, a great day for the entire family. Also, special thanks to our many sponsors for this year's event, especially Cherokee Casino-Fort Gibson, who was our main financial sponsor, followed by "Hot" sponsors: Fort Gibson State Bank, Clinkenbeard Agency-Century 21, Cook Construction, Armstrong Bank; and "Bold" sponsors: Yaffe Iron & Metal Works, Tahlequah City Hospital, Eastern Sheet Metal, Direct Traffic Control Inc, Advances Workzone Services, DBA PK X-Ray, Cook Consulting, Ross Construction Company, and SonBurst Graphics, along with many others in the "Spicy" and "Mild" categories, many of which are still coming in.
I will list all our sponsors, at the conclusion of the event, plus they can all be seen on the back of this year's official T-shirt. Without them, none of this would be possible. A note about the upcoming United Methodist Women's Arts & Craft Show, scheduled for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 3, at the United Methodist Church.
Along with a special quilt by the Fort Gibson Women's Club that will be raffled off, there will be a special chili luncheon, with proceeds going to support missions. A very worthy event that is always well supported by our community and the surrounding area.
Let's give them our support again this year. Also on Nov. 3, will be the Fort Gibson Toy Run, sponsored by the Christian Motorcycle Association. That will consist of a parade starting at the Fajita Rita's parking lot at noon, with lineup beginning at 10:30 a.m., the parade continuing down Poplar Street, then south on Lee Street to the Church of Christ parking lot.
Everyone is invited to bring their donated toys, and participate in the parade. There will be refreshments and door prizes at the start of the parade. For any additional information, contact Reuben Kisner at (918) 310-7268. A busy couple of weeks in the "oldest town."