It’s August in Alabama, and that means hot. It means hot days filled with sweltering temperatures. It means the young and hot are out in their skimpiest outfits. It also means that once again, hot flames are being fanned at Sloss Furnaces, and not in an attempt to make iron once more.
I speak, of course, of the seventh annual Stokin’ the Fire BBQ festival, which returns to the hallowed walkways of the furnaces this weekend. About 70 teams will converge on the historic landmark to compete in that time-honored tradition, competitive barbecue. Sauces will flow, butts will be smoked and at the end of the day, one enterprising and very sweaty winner will be crowned king of the grill.
Attendees to the festival will have an opportunity to sample the vast array of tasty vittles being produced by competitors, and they can vote for their favorite in the People’s Choice Competition.
Sloss Furnaces 2011 Stokin’ The Fire BBQ Festival Schedule of Events
Gates Open: 11 a.m.
BBQ Competition Events: 12 p.m.—BBQ Cook Team People’s Choice Competition begins (see details below) 1:30 p.m.–3 p.m.—BBQ Competition (Chicken, Ribs & Butt) Judging begins 5 p.m.—BBQ Cook Team People’s Choice Competition Ends 8 p.m.–9 p.m.—BBQ Awards ceremony (Location: Hog Wild Music Stage, Cast Shed #1)
Kids Zone: 11 a.m.–Close—Face Painting, Water Slide, Hair Painting, Crafts & Sand Treasure Hunt
VIP Area: 11 a.m.–Close—$35 pass required for 1 meal and 4 drinks, seating area & music
Food & Merchandise Vendors: 11 a.m.–Close Votes will cost $1, and all proceeds will benefit tornado relief efforts and the Sloss Furnaces Foundation.
It’s not all chicken, beef and pork, for you non meatitarians. Free the Hops members will be there offering craft beer samples, and food and beverages outside the scope of the competition will also be available.
The festival also features a line-up of live music, including Culture Dred, Newgrass Troubadours, the Rhythms and the Association of Cajun Music Enthusiasts with Lil’ Malcolm and the Zydeco House Rockers.
Still need an excuse? How about celebrities? Mayor William Bell and talk-show host Wendy Williams will be present as celebrity judges.
For more information, visit www.slossfurnaces.com/stokin.
Entertainment Events (Hog Wild Music Stage/Cast Shed #1) 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.—Culture Dred (Reggae) 12:45 p.m.–2:15 p.m.—New Grass Troubadours (BlueGrass) 2:30 p.m.–4:45 p.m.—Association of Cajun Music Enthusiasts with Lil’ Malcolm and the Zydeco House Rockers 5 p.m.–6:45 p.m.—The Rhythms (Motown) 7:30 p.m.–8:00 p.m.—Wendy Williams Appearance 8 p.m.–9 p.m.—BBQ Awards Presentation
Gates Close: 9 p.m.
People’s Choice Competition Details (12 p.m.–5 p.m., located by Spray Pond–see event map)
The People’s Choice competition gives the public an opportunity to taste BBQ prepared by participating Stokin’ The Fire cook teams.
VOTING: The public can electively vote by placing a dollar bill in the ballot box designated for their favorite bbq sample. The winner with the most $1 votes will win. Please note, all