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Arts & Entertainment Fourth annual Mountain High BBQ festival saw great weather, turnout

Last weekend, the fourth annual Mountain High BBQ and Car Show was held in Franklin. The event was an overall success, according to organizers, who estimated thousands of folks from near and far came to the fairground festival.

The event was held at Wayne Proffitt Agricultural Center located on Highway 441 South, and was sanctioned by the Kansas City BBQ Society. Nearly forty national teams came to compete for the title of Grand Champion for award winning barbecue and over a dozen regional teams came to prove their mettle against one another.

With $5 admission for adults and free entry for children 12 and under, the promise of barbecue and a chance to win a high-end $1,200 Holland Grill proved to draw crowds. Carol Arnold, of Franklin, was the lucky recipient of the prize.

According to Cindy Cavender, Chamber of Commerce event director, attendance for the event was more than adequate. “It turned out great,” she said. “We had a great crowd on Saturday. The weather was great that day. It was cool outside and there was very little overcast.” She estimated that at least 4,000 visitors easily attended the festival. As of press time, official numbers on ticket sales were not complete.

Inside the fair building, crafters and artists had their work on display as well as other vendors with products to sell.Twenty-five-year old Michael Brooks, along with his girlfriend, Ashley Barrett, 24, brought their infant son Riley to the event. After hearing about the festival, the young couple decided to see what it was all about.

“I just can’t believe how many barbecue teams there are,” said Barrett, toting little Riley under her arm. “[We] heard about this for the last few days and thought we would check it out. It’s definitely one of the bigger things we’ve had in Franklin.”

“This is so cool,” said Brooks, looking at the barbecue cookers, adding that the tastin’ tent seemed an exciting feature to the festival. “I love barbecue. That’s why I came.”

The cooking teams were indeed a sight to behold, as they camped throughout the grounds with tarps set up and barbecue smoke billowing out from beneath.

“There is some steep competition,” said Scott Jarrett of the Smoke This barbecue team from Hickory, N.C.. “But that’s why we’re here in the first place.” Jarret’s team has competed professionally since 2004, having won two Grand Championships in years past. The team has attended the Mountain High festival every year.

Conservation Theory entertained the crowds with toe-tapping bluegrass. Photos by Betsey GooderBeginning Friday afternoon, bluegrass and southern rock medleys accompanied the smoky aromas and the flash of a car show. Overcast skies and brief light showers did not hinder the performances. Friday's excitement was wrapped up by a performance by the infamous Hoss Howard Band from Cherokee.

The festival continued on Saturday with cool temperatures and no imminent threat of rain.

Aside from the competitive cooking, other events were plentiful at the festival, including Saturday’s “tastin’ tent,” where the public could actually sample the various barbecue pork by prepared by competitors. The “Natural Beauty Pageant,” car show and live entertainment were also crowd pleasers.

Car Show

The second annual Koss Motorsports Car Show was held nearby, with 82 registered contestants this year “squeezed into the tiny lot” according to event coordinator Steve Koss, who noted that several additional entrants were turned away due to lack of space.

Koss Motorsports sponsored a car show that had 82 entrants. Prizes were given in many categories including Best Paint and Best Engine.“We are looking to expand the parking lot and planning for a huge 2013 show,” said Koss. “We had everything there from a rare Aston Martin DB5 to great T-Bucket classic cars and a lot of modern cars… We even had a great Roush Mustang on display.”

A total of $500 in cash payouts was available for the dozens of car entrants.

Car Show Winners:

Best Paint: Jim Pennington
Best Interior: Roger Hendren
Best I.C.E.: Dustin Delozier
Best Engine: Fate English
Best Female Owned Vehicle (Must show Registration or Title): Becky Cachran
Best Theme: Tim Vos
KMS Pick: Richard Wolf
Host Pick: Gene Powers

Natural Beauty Pageant

This year’s third annual “Natural Beauty Pageant,” hosted by Mary Patterson, of the Glass Slipper Natural Beauty Pageants, had an exceptional turnout. Although last year, there were 39 contestants registered for the event in Franklin, this year the event was only able to draw 20 contestants.

But according to Patterson, the pageant went off without a hitch. “It went very smoothly this year,” she said. “I was very pleased for what it was. I thought the festival itself was very nice.”

Girls ages birth to 16 years old could enter the contest, which was divided up into eight separate age groups. In keeping with the southern/ BBQ theme of the festival, the girls were asked to wear attire that had a country or western flair.

Every contestant received recognition and a trophy, however, the “Miss Mountain High BBQ Festival” was crowned queen for the day; complete with a sash, crown and two-foot tall trophy. Of all the contestants, Sara Todd, 15, of Mint Hill, N.C., was crowned Miss Mountain High BBQ 2012 Queen.

BBQ winners

BBQ contestants were judged in five categories; chicken (pro & backyard), ribs (pro & backyard), pork (pro & backyard) and beef brisket (pro only).

The Pro Team Grand Champion, Decatur, Alabama’s Jiggy Piggy, was awarded $2,000 and a trophy. The Reserve Grand Champion, Woodstock, Georgia’s Bub-Ba-Q, was awarded $1,000 and a trophy.

Backyard Porkers, of Scottsboro, Alabama, won Grand Champion of the Backyard cookoff, winning $250 and a trophy. Fatso’s, of Bryson City, won Reserve Champion, and took home $200 and at trophy.

The first place for each meat division was awarded $750 plus a trophy, second place was awarded $400 and a trophy and third place was awarded $300 and a trophy. There were 38 pro teams from 5 different states and 13 backyard teams from 5 different states.

Contest results

Grand Champion: Jiggy Piggy, Reserve Champion: Bub-Ba-Q

1. Jiggy Piggy
2. Bub-Ba-Q
3. Serial Griller

1. Rocky Top Barbecue
2. The Blue Bloods
3. Miss Piggy's

1. Wooley Bully BBQ Mafia
2. Swamp Boys
3. Blitzkreig BBQ

1. Bub-Ba-Q
2. Serial Griller
3. Killer B's BBQ

1. Wooley Bully BBQ Mafia
2. Webo's BBQ
3. Nard's Backyard BBQ

Backyard Chicken:
1. Fatso's BBQ
2. Backyard Porkers
3. Three Little Pigs Barbecue

Backyard Ribs:
1. Backyard Porkers
2. Three Little Pigs Barbecue
3. Big Buttz BBQ

Backyard Pork:
1. Fatso's BBQ
2. North Georgia Grillers
3. Screaming Eagle

Backyard Overall:
1. Backyard Porkers
2. Fatso's BBQ
3. Three Little Pigs Barbecue

BBQ Beauty Pageant WinnersLocal chamber credited for successful fest

Cavender thanked the local and corporate entities that sponsored the event. The sponsors included United Community Bank, Macon Bank, Curtis TV, Franklin Young Professionals, Bojangles, Holland Grill, Shaw Enterprises, the Macon County Fair Association, The Factory, Microtel, Tourism Development Commission, Pepsi of Bryson City, Bi-Lo, WNCC, WHLOS, Smoky Mountain Chevy and the Franklin Press.

Moreover, the volunteers that helped coordinate the event proved invaluable, Cavender noted. “We had a lot of folks help out and keep everything running as smoothly as it did. We were just awed by that,” she said. “So many helped out and kept coming, asking ‘what else can we do to help? or ‘what more can be done?’”

“We will do some things different next year,” Cavender added. “We will have another car show and there will be more music.”

Next year’s event will be held on the second week of August.

BBQ Beauty Pageant Winners

Miss Mountain High BBQ
Festival Grand Supreme Queen
Sara Todd, 15 yrs
Mint Hill, NC

Baby Miss Princess
Aubrey Webb, 10 mths
Barnardsville, NC

Wee Miss Princess
Ava Collier, 2 yrs
Franklin, NC

Toddler Miss Princess
Lili Campbell, 3 yrs
Waynesville, NC

Precious Miss Princess
Sara Gibbs, 5
North Augusta, SC

Petite Miss Princess
Hannah Smith, 7
Franklin, NC

Young Miss Princess
Zee Keezer, 10
Franklin, NC


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