Seventy-five barbeque teams are set to compete in the Georgia Barbecue Championship at the annual Pigs & Peaches BBQ Festival from 6 to 11 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday at Adams Park. Two weeks later is the Taste of Kennesaw for food lovers.
More than 40,000 people are expected to attend the Pigs & Peaches BBQ Festival. Admission to the two-day festival is free.
Attractions include two stages of live music and dancing from local and national touring acts, children’s activities, helicopter rides, food and beverage vendors, and a street festival featuring arts, crafts, general merchandise and sponsor booths.
At 9:45 p.m. Saturday, fireworks will be shot off over Adams Park at 2600 Park Drive off North Main Street.
“The 2012 festival bears little resemblance to the city’s inaugural barbeque contest in 2001, which featured a single blues performer and only a handful of participants,” city Recreation Division Manager David Pies said.
“(Pigs & Peaches) has grown through the years into a major regional event, reflecting the interests and aspirations of not only the barbeque community, but also area businesses, residents and visitors.”
Barbecue contest categories include a Kansas City Barbeque Society–sanctioned professional competition, an amateur “Backyard BBQ” contest, a peach dessert contest and an “Anything Butt” contest, where teams are given a meat item and asked to add any ingredients to create a stew, soup, main course or side dish.
A team of judges will determine the contest winners based on appearance, taste and texture. Over $15,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded.
Festival sponsors include SCANA Energy, Jim Tidwell Ford, Char-Broil, Community Magazine, CW 69, Comcast, Kennesaw Pediatrics, Radio Disney, McAlister’s Deli, 97.1 The River, AM 1690 and Miller Lite.
On Sept. 8, more than 35 Kennesaw area restaurants will share food samples at the annual Taste of Kennesaw, held downtown on Main Street and Depot Park. Admission is free. The event is co-sponsored by the city of Kennesaw and Kennesaw Business Association.
Food samples will range from $1 to $4.
The Taste of Kennesaw will run from 11 a.m. to 8 pm. The festivities will include live entertainment throughout the day, as well as a 6 p.m. concert featuring Banks & Shane, and a beer garden under a large tent with seating. A variety of children’s activities will include inflatable slides and a trackless train.
The event benefits five local charities: Shop with a Mustang (Kennesaw Mountain High School), Shop with a Warrior (North Cobb High School), Shop with a Longhorn (Kell High School), MUST Ministries and the Jerry Worthan Community Christmas Fund.
In recent years, some downtown residents have expressed concerns regarding neighborhoods being blocked by traffic during festivals. City spokeswoman Pam Davis acknowledged that the city has received complaints from neighborhoods about parking during various events.
Police Chief Bill Westenberger said police will be on hand to address traffic problems and enforce the law.
“I encourage festival guests to use good judgment in parking,” he said. “Illegal parking will be enforced accordingly to help maintain safe and efficient traffic flow.”
Parking for the Taste of Kennesaw will be available throughout the downtown area, as well as Adams Park and Kennesaw First Baptist Church at 2958 North Main St., according to the KBA. Handicap parking will be located in the Kennesaw Depot parking lot on Cherokee at North Main streets.
The following are parking options listed for the Pigs & Peaches BBQ Festival.
Free public parking:
* Lot at the intersection of Dallas Street and J.O. Stephenson Avenue (unpaved)
* Kennesaw First Baptist Church, 2958 North Main St. (north & east lots only)
* Along Watts Drive (behind Kennesaw City Hall)
* BB&T, 2760 North Cobb Parkway
* Amason Family Dentistry, 2430 Powell Place
* Lot at the intersection of North Main Street and Moon Station Road
* Kennesaw Depot, 2828 Cherokee St.
* Grass lot off Big Shanty Drive/Sardis Street, north of Kennesaw Depot
* Kennesaw Teen Center, 2765 South Main St.
* Ben Robertson Community Center (against south side of building facing Watts Drive)
* Kennesaw City Hall, 2529 J.O. Stephenson Ave.
* Bus turnaround off Big Shanty Drive
* Former Wachovia Bank, 2785 Watts Drive
* The Harmony House, 2891 Lewis St.
* Willis Chiropractic Center, 2829 Dallas St.