MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

October 7, 2013

‘Smokin’ the Fort’ BBQ festival getting closer

Chamber Notes
Gary Perkins

— It is hard to believe that our “Smokin’ the Fort-BBQ & Bluegrass Festival” is now less than three weeks away.

The BBQ Committee is excited about this year’s prospects, as we near the start of our 5th annual barbecue event, scheduled for Oct. 25-26. The committee, which consists of Brad Clinkenbeard, Mike Williams, Alissa Gage, Kenny Taylor, Justin Young, David Perry, Linda Clinkenbeard, Kathy Perkins, Cheryl Hill, Steve Woods, Tonia Cooper, and myself, has worked hard to make this year’s the best ever. We also get much referral and support help from several others, including Steven Hill, John Hasler, Sue Absher Patton, Clint Vernon, Kathy Carson, Steve Clinkenbeard, Don Cook, Justin Calvert, and many others. It takes a large group of helpers to make our event as successful as possible.

This year features the normal Friday evening kickoff happenings, with a “Meet the Cooks” party, Kids Que and Anything Butt cooking competition. The Kids Que features two age groups, 10 and under and 11 to 15, and allows the kids to show off their cooking ability with cash and awards presented the top three in each category. Anything Butt (Anything Goes) features a dessert competition and an entree competition, again with cash awards. Also featured Friday evening is an open invitation to all church and civic clubs and groups to set up fundraising booths or information booths without any vendor charge or fee. Food, music, and the smell of barbecue smoke should fill the air Friday evening well into the night. Saturday morning starts off with the same great smell in the air as the Kansas City Barbecue Society competition cookers are in full swing after working on their barbecue delights all night. Certified judges will be judging the barbecue categories, which include chicken, ribs, pork, and brisket. Cash and awards will be presented the winners in each category to the 10th place. This year’s event has been proclaimed “Smokin’ the Fort-BBQ & Bluegrass Festival Day,” in Oklahoma by Gov. Mary Fallin.

The competition is also recognized as a State Championship Competition, which goes toward bigger events and awards within the KCBS organization. Also featured on Saturday is the ever-popular Taster’s Choice competition. All the general public can taste and vote for their favorite. Taster kits will be available for purchase. That will allow everyone the chance to sample barbecue to their heart’s delight. Also available will be official T-shirts featuring Beauregard the Bull and the Smokin’ the Fort logo. Along with all the great barbecue, additional food and merchandise vendors will be available to cater to your every taste and shopping desire.

In addition to all the barbecue activities, great bluegrass music will fill the air, featuring the music of the Kenny Cantrell Band, the Meyer Family, and the Lonesome Road Bluegrass Band. In all, it will be a day that the entire family can enjoy and find something to entertain them.

Plan on coming out and being part of this great annual event in downtown Fort Gibson.

Some additional surprises are in the works that will make it a day to remember.

Anyone who would like to be part of the planning committee or to volunteer to help on the day of the event, please give me a call at the chamber office — (918) 478-4780 or (918) 577-2069.

One final note regarding event sponsorship, the T-shirts will be going to press shortly, and the levels of sponsorship include: Hot Sponsor, $1,000+; Bold Sponsors, $500; Spicy Sponsors, $300; and Mild Sponsors, $100.

All sponsors will get their names on the back of the T-shirts in one degree or another. Contact me now for your spot in history.

Special thanks to Cherokee Nation-Fort Gibson Casino for their major sponsorship again this year.

Any finally, our Weekly Chamber Luncheon being held at Fajita Rita’s for the month of October had a great turnout this past Thursday. In attendance were: Rhonda Lee, Tonia Cooper, Denise Bain, Morgan Bain, Justin Young, Mark Young, Dwayne Thompson, and his guest, an intern with Markwayne Mullin’s office (sorry, I missed her name), and myself. Come join us at 11:30 each Thursday. Our weekly get-together is open to everyone and anyone and is merely a casual gathering of friends enjoying lunch together. Try us out.