Participants and guests enjoy the 2011 Brenau BBQ Championship May 20 and 21, 2011 in Gainesville, Ga.

Family Fun at the Brenau University Barbecue Championship May 25

May 21, 2013
Brenau Staff

The Brenau Amphitheatre and Gainesville campus turns into a fun for all ages event on Saturday, May 25, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Brenau Barbecue Championship.

Although the principal purpose of the festival is to determine which two of about 40 cooking teams win the championship and an automatic bid to compete in a national cooking competition in Las Vegas in the fall, there will be plenty of activities to keep kids occupied while adults sample well-smoked ribs, shoulder and whole hog pulled pork.

Wallace Field, adjacent to the Brenau Amphitheatre turns into the kid zone with inflatable obstacle courses, games, hula-hoops, water splash fun, music and family friendly hands on activities.

“Yes, the balloon ladies will be there again,” said Christina White, who oversees the children’s activities at the festival. White referred to the balloon artist Kathy Hoffman and Sandy Caldwell from A Tricky Business. “They’re always a favorite of the kids.”

The HandStand wax art company helps anyone create a colorful, non-toxic, exact hand wax replica. Local friends at Interactive Neighborhood for Kids in Gainesville will offer activities, too.

In addition to more than two dozen vendors selling everything from barbecue rubs and spices to hand-crafted jewelry, Saturday also features continuous musical performances in the amphitheater by favorite local bands like Back in Time, a nine-piece rock-n-roll group. Back in Time, which has a four-piece horn section, includes Jonathan Jackson and Mercer Crook. The group performs at noon on the stage.

Regional singer/songwriters from the John Jarrard Foundation will play on the amphitheatre stage throughout the day.

Gainesville’s Old Friends Car Club hosts a classic car show from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the front lawn of the picturesque historic university.

Of course, there will be plenty of barbecue for show and sale.

Cook teams from five states will battle for Memphis Barbecue Network and Georgia Barbecue Association amateur and professional titles as well as rights to compete at the World Food Championship in Las Vegas.

Although the $5 admission charge doesn’t cover food costs, many of the competing teams traditionally provide samples throughout the day after their entries pass under the noses of the judges.

In addition, two award-winning vendors from previous Brenau competitions — Rick’s Smokin’ Pig from Gainesville and Dixie Que from Macon will have plenty of barbecue for sale.

The admission charge on Saturday, May 25, and other proceeds go to defray costs of student scholarships at Brenau.

For more information, consult the Web site at and be sure to follow the Brenau Barbecue festival on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #brenaubbq.