Weather perfect for Bowie Fest

Published 12:07 am Sunday, September 30, 2007

VIDALIA — Whether it was for the knife fight reenactment, the food or the arts and crafts, visitors flocked to the annual Jim Bowie Festival Saturday afternoon.

Visitors lined up for funnel cakes and carnival games, and men in waistcoats reenacted the famous Jim Bowie knife fight.

For Ferriday residents Travis Bass and his wife Beverly the festival was a chance to see friends and enjoy nice weather.

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“Just to get out of the house,” Bass said. “And we came down to support what’s going on.”

The couple comes to the festival just about every year, they said.

“(We like) the food and seeing everybody you know, all your friends,” Beverly Bass said.

Friends Dietrich Singleton, of Natchez, and Fritz Beard, of Vidalia, go to as many regional festivals as they can.

“We’re festival people,” Beard said.

They like coming to the Bowie Festival for the food and the music.

“The weather turned out beautiful,” Beard said. “We need more festivals like this.”

Along with the food and fun, the festival hosted a car show by the Mississippi British Motoring Club and the Louisiana State Barbecue Championship Bowie Barbecue Duel.

The grand champion of the barbecue cook-off each year gets sent to the Memphis in May cook-offs.

Last year, an all-female team from Jackson called Sassy Sows won. Then, they took fourth place in Memphis.

The Vidalia cook-off has three categories: ribs, whole-hog and shoulder. This year, they only entered the rib category.

“We want to do one thing and do it well,” team member Julie Chaffin said. “To us, ribs are the hardest to cook. With whole hog, you can pick and choose the meat. And shoulder has so much fat it’s almost self-basting. But with ribs, you’ve got little room for error.”

Chaffin, a lawyer, along with Trudy Fisher and Linda Hitt, started their team after judging cook-offs for years.

“We thought, ‘We’re pretty good cooks. We can do this,’” Chaffin said.

At first, competition teams tried to give them a hand.

“They all wanted to help,” she said. “Until at our first competition, we won first place.”

These days, the women are taken seriously for the sticky, smoky goodness that is their barbecue.

And this year, again, they won the title of grand champions and are headed to Memphis.

Other winners:

Rib category: Sassy Sows, first place; Magnificent Redeyed Smokers, second; Texas Young Guns, third.

Shoulder category: 10 Bones BBQ, first; Uncle’s Barbeque Sauce, second; Ubon’s, third.

Whole hog: Cotton Patch Cooking Crew, first; Barnyard Roasters, second; Texas Young Guns, third.