The annual barbecue festival, which took place on Friday and Saturday, was expected to draw about 40,000 visitors. However, nice weather and plenty of food, vendors and entertainment, might have attracted even bigger crowds that were expected, said Kennesaw spokeswoman Pam Davis.
“I think we probably are seeing record attendance,” said Davis, who got a bird’s eye view of the scene from high above in a helicopter.
A total of 77 barbeque teams competed for the title of Georgia Barbecue Championship during the city’s festival at Adams Park.
The festival featured a Kansas City Barbeque Society sanctioned barbecue competition, which is recognized as a Georgia Barbecue Championship contest, as well as a “Backyard BBQ,” “Anything Butt” and “Peach Dessert Contest.” More than $15,000 in cash and prizes were awarded to contest winners.
The festival’s overall grand champion was Que’n, Stew’n & Brew’n. Second place went to Kudzu Q.
Doug Rhodes of Kennesaw, a KCBS official who served as the judging coordinator, said contestants needed to appease the taste buds of as many as six judges for a shot at winning. Certified judges graded on appearance, taste and texture.
“They try to take the subjectivity out of it and make it objective,” said Rhodes. “There are certain ways (meat) should pull off the bone, have a smoke ring and things of that nature. It’s a little more technical than most people would think.”
Robert Holt and two friends from Bartow County competed for the third time at the festival in the Backyard BBQ division. The team, nicknamed “The Fat Guyz,” had placed in or near the top 10 in previous years but aimed for a higher finish this year.
Holt, a Texas native, said the team’s homemade sauce has won awards on its own and was used on the chicken, ribs and pork prepared for the competition.
“We try to do everything with our own sauce,” he said.
In addition to mouth-watering barbecue, the festival included live music, children’s activities, helicopter rides, arts and crafts, and sponsor booths. Admission was free to the public.