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Backyard BBQ set for Sept. 24

VIDALIA — Fun, food and excitement are just around the corner in Vidalia, as the annual Jim Bowie Festival gets ready to unsheathe itself with a barbecue-cooking contest for anyone with an appetite or a culinary passion.

The Backyard BBQ Contest will be on Sept. 24 at the River View RV Park, and anyone who wants to enter needs to act fast. Only 22 spots are available for any amateur cooks in the area who think they have a winning recipe.

“People that love to grill and have fun need to come out and register,” Jamie Burley said. “Anybody is invited to join, and there are plenty of categories for you to enter.”

Burley, the director of the Vidalia Chamber of Commerce, said there are six categories for participants to enter: beef, chicken, pork, other and tropical drinks with alcohol and without alcohol.

“The registration fee is $35 and you can enter in your choice of divisions,” she said. “If you want to enter in any additional division, it’s just $10 extra for each one.”

Registration can be completed online at vidaliala.com, or at the Vidalia Chamber of Commerce office at 1401 Carter St. in Vidalia.

Anyone can register for any category.

Lawrence Chauvin, chairman of the barbecue committee, said in past years, professionals have dominated in any barbecue contest the city has had, but this year, things will be a little different.

“This is strictly an amateur contest,” he said. “There are no rules like there have been in the past. Any grill, any marinade, it’s just about having fun and getting more people involved in the community.”

Even though fun is the theme of this year’s contest, prizes will be awarded for the top cooks in each category with the winners being announced at 9:30 that evening.

“Awards will be presented to the winner of each division, but it’s mainly about friendly competition,” Chauvin said.

Barbecue is not the only food being brought to the judges table for the festival, Burley said there will also be a pie bake-off along with some other events that are sure to make the Bowie experience something to remember.

“We have lots of great things for people to do. We are going to have a some great music and even a rock wall for people to climb.” Burley said. “We are just trying to provide local, affordable fun.”

Burley said there will also be a Little Miss Bowie, and for the first time a Little Mr. Bowie at the festival this year.

“Activities such as this, along with music from Shenandoah and some good barbecue are going to make this a fun experience for anyone who decides to make it,” she said.

Spending a day cooking barbecue with a group of friends or co-workers is something Chauvin said the city is going to try and achieve through the event.

“We want businesses to compete against each other. It gives employees a chance to work with each other outside of the normal everyday work life,” he said.

A relaxed atmosphere for a group of weekend chefs is what Chauvin said he wants to happen, and it can if people in the area sign up to show off their barbecue skills.

“While individuals can do it, we are looking for a team atmosphere,” Chauvin said. “It’s all about having some fun. We are trying to make the cook-off an annual event for everyone to enjoy.”

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