Festival on the Rocks: A good first show

Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Brenda Buchanan, left, the top honors winner in Prichards barbecue contest hugs Dr. Jeff Jordan, the Lewisburg Rotarian who leads the contest.

With crowd estimates in the thousands, Festival on the Rocks featured six bands, vendors galore and dozens of barbecue contestants in Rock Creek Park last weekend.

Winning the Prichard's BBQ Cook-off were Fayetteville residents Terry and Brenda Buchanan who simultaneously said, "We're neighbors to y'all." Their team is dubbed High on the Hawg.

"Lewisburg has been good to us," Terry said. "We came the first year before it was sanctioned and we've been in the top 10 each time."

They won "because of a consistent overall score," he said, having already credited, in this order: His wife, Brenda; Prichards distillery in Kelso east of Fayetteville; and Oak Ridge Barbecue Rub.

They won a total of $1,900; enough to cover weekend costs and pay their next entry fee.

Barbecue contest judging is done differently at different places.

"We're here to assure you that you get a fair and honest judgment," said Richard Preston of Lawrenceburg, the representative from the Kansas City Barbecue Society.

That sanctioning body for the contest is a "blind" judging system. Entries are numbered and kept secret until points are assigned, calculated, tallied and announced.

Judging at Memphis in May is "on-site judging," Bob Fite of Decatur, Ala., said. His team is Jiggy Piggy. "Someone with the gift of gab might be more successful" because they could talk to a judge while feeding the judge. Grills are set up differently for the May event. Barbecue teams face judges with displays where the meat is cooked.

As a sponsor of the Rotary Club's barbecue contest, Kelso-based Prichard's Distillery also conducted a contest for the best sauce made with Prichard's "Sweet Lucy" Bourbon Based Liqueur.

Dr. Jeff Jordan, the Lewisburg Rotarian who leads the contest, announced that Back Yard Porkers from Louisville, Ga. won the sauce contest and was awarded a Holland brand grill valued at $980 and "available at Coble Furniture."

Festival on the Rocks presented two concerts with three bands appearing at each.

Cackie Slater, 29, of Lewisburg went to hear Us Two and him because they "played when I was itty bitty, so I thought I'd come out here" on Friday to see them with her daughter, Charlotte, 3.

Us Two and him were what attracted Lauren Anderson and her mother, Kim, a Marshall County High School teacher.

"Jim Rickman [one of Us Two] goes to my church," Lauren said. Kim said, "Both of us come out to support all the festivals. Our town needs to have more of these for our kids."

Meanwhile, Bob Grimes of Lewisburg, proprietor of Ace High Ballooning, took more than a couple dozen people up in a hot air balloon during tethered flights that, all together, lasted two hours.

Also Friday, Melanie and Tommy McCaleb of Columbia Highway just west of Marshall County, celebrated their 34th wedding anniversary. He played the dobro and lead guitar behind Joey + Rory, headliners for the Friday concert.

The two-day festival proved to be a celebration of organization and community service provided by the Lewisburg Rotary Club.