Inaugural BBQ fest in Fryeburg set for July 23-24

FRYEBURG — Grilling and smoking enthusiasts from across the Northeast are expected to attend a new barbecue festival this weekend.

This Saturday and Sunday, the Denmark Lions Club is putting on the inaugural Western Maine Barbecue Festival at the Fryeburg Fairgrounds. Organizers say they expect as many as 10,000 to attend the festival, a fundraiser for Lions Club chapters across the state.

More than 30 competitors from as far off as Pennsylvania and Florida will be entering their barbecue in a competition Sunday with judges certified by the Kansas City Barbeque Society, the world's largest association of barbecue enthusiasts.

The festival has been in the works since March 2010, according to JoAnne Harbourt of the Denmark Lions Club. In addition to barbecue vendors, nonbarbecue food will be sold by members of other Lions Clubs in Maine, and proceeds will go to those groups.

Harbourt said competitors can't sell their food, but limited samples will be available in people's choice competitions on both days. “It will be first come, first served,” Harcourt said.

Three barbecue vendors will be there to sell barbecue to the public.

Saturday is the New England Barbecue Society grilling contest, followed by the Kansas City Barbeque Society contest on Sunday, which features slow-cooked, smoked offerings. “That can only be judged by people who have been certified by the Kansas City Barbeque Society as judges. It's an all-day course that you take to get that certification.”

In addition to food, the weekend will feature musical acts including the John Sarty Duo, the Anne Clark Trio and the Trailer Trash Band. L-A Harley-Davidson is featuring a motorcycle show at 1 p.m. Sunday.

The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5 per day for adults and free for children under 10. The cost covers parking, entertainment, demonstrations and many family activities.

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