Finger-lickin’, lip-smackin’ fun at Frisco BBQ event this weekend
Summit Daily News
Several thousands of residents and visitors will make it a finger-lickin’, lip-smackin’ good time this weekend in Frisco with the 18th Annual Frisco BBQ Challenge on Main Street.
It all started in the 1990s with just a few vendors attracting a small crowd compared to today. Now, it’s become more than your average backyard barbecue with nearly 40 barbecue vendors, free music, chef demonstrations, pig races, circus performances and more.
About two years ago, the event had grown to pull in about 22,000 people. Last year, attendance was at 35,000. Organizers expect to exceed that number this year.
“There’s just so many amazing vendors,” Frisco event coordinator Jaime Harmon said, explaining that the state championship element draws local vendors as well as barbecuers from other parts of the country. The winner of the state competition gets a ticket to the “Super Bowl of Barbecue” in Kansas City, she said.
“We attract a lot of barbecuers who have great barbecue,” Harmon said.
The two days and one evening of events kicked off Thursday with Hot Buttered Rum covering Grateful Dead and Talking Heads music. Today, the scents of sauces, smoke and savory delights begin wafting through the streets as vendors cater to the public and try to walk away named winner of the 2011 Colorado BBQ Challenge.
Mean Dean Bury, the 2008 winner, says he’ll possibly be the 2011 winner after submitting chicken, ribs, pork butt and beef brisket he hopes will place high in the overall rankings.
But then there’s the perennial question: What do you need to do to win?
“Probably just use Mean Dean’s product,” Bury joked. He’s attended the BBQ Challenge for about a decade now, and says “it’s unreal” to see the growth.
Bury travels to a handful of barbecue competitions across the Midwest and Mountain West, including Michigan, Iowa and Nebraska. From Lee’s Summit by Kansas City, Bury likes the Frisco event because of the atmosphere and the environment.
With daytime temperatures forecast to be in the 70s and little to no precipitation in the forecast, Frisco’s Main Street should be the ideal gathering spot for vendors and buyers alike.
“You just have to look down Main Street,” Bury said, adding that his family takes time on the down days to bike and hike around the mountains. But when the booths open at 10 a.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday, he’ll be hard at work at Mean Dean’s Smokin’ Machine across from the Visitor’s Center.
“It’s the ideal setup,” Bury said, saying he appreciates the efforts of volunteers and the recycling and composting work, which requires vendors to hand out food only in materials that won’t end up in the landfill. “It’s a well-oiled machine,” Bury added.
While enjoying open-air tunes from six different groups, wander the stands and sample the sweetest smelling bites. Take a moment to sit in on chef demonstrations – including California Top Chef Chris ‘CJ’ Jacobson and check out the fun of the pig races while youngsters play games and watch the Salida Circus Show.
Jugglers will walk through the crowd, with performances at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. both days as well as a final show at 6 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Saturday.
“It’s very kid-oriented,” Harmon said. “They train kids how to do circus acts. It adds activity for families outside of the barbecue and drinking and music.”
The pig races are another highlight for children, Harmon said. Each hour, piglets race to be the winner of an Oreo cookie.
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