To help you get past the coldest day of the year, think about the strains of great music and the aroma of great barbecue awakening your senses on a balmy late spring southern Appalachian morning.
The fantasy, however, is only 100 days from reality as we start the final countdown to Brenau University’s fourth annual nationally heralded barbecue cooking festival on its historic campus in Gainesville, Ga.
Set to kick off Memorial Day weekend on Friday and Saturday, May 25-26, the Brenau Barbecue Championship features appearances and gastronomic exhibitions from some of the top professional cooking teams in the Southeast. But the festival, which has become a must-attend family event for springtime in North Georgia, also attracts a score of top-flight amateur cook teams and dozens of vendors hawking everything from relishes and rubs for your own cooking adventures to upscale designer neckties and hand-made jewelry.
“We still have a number of open spots for both amateur and professional cook teams,” said Jim Barco, Brenau’s senior vice president for institutional development and the perennial grand marshal of the pork parade that is part of the Memphis Barbecue Network’s national competition circuit. “But we’ve also had many requests from those who have attended previous festivals to open up more slots for non-barbecue vendors, and we are going to do exactly that.”
Barco is putting final touches on the musical programs for performances in the Brenau Amphitheater during the Friday night preview party and the day-long Saturday festival. And, he says he is also making arrangements for a repeat engagement for another popular feature of previous Brenau events: an antique auto show on the front lawn of the campus with the distinctive Second Empire architecture forming an opportune photogenic background.
All proceeds from the barbecue contribute to scholarships for deserving Brenau students from the area. So far the festivals have generated a total of more than $250,000 the initiative.
For more information, contact Barco at 770-534-6161 or go to the Brenau Barbecue website at www.brenaubbq.org