By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – A hundred professional teams will compete for more than $15,000 in prize money at the Link Centre’s third annual Don’t Be Cruel BBQ Duel on Friday and Saturday at Fairpark in downtown Tupelo.
This Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanctioned competition and festival is free and open to the public. Among the teams competing are Johnny Trigg’s Smokin’ Triggers from Texas; Quau from Illinois; Lotta Bull from Oklahoma; Que’n Stew’n & Brew’n from Georgia; Pellet Envy from Kansas; Jiggy Piggy from Alabama, and 2012 BBQ Duel Grand Champion Killer Hogs from Southaven.
“We have some nationally ranked teams from all across the U.S.,” said Bev Crossen, committee chairman for the event.
Arts and crafts and food vendors will be set up at Fairpark all weekend, and barbecue plates will be on sale both days, beginning at 11 a.m. Live entertainment, which begins at 10 a.m. each day, includes Bob Ray, Kevin Waide, Surviving Allison, Spunk Monkees, John Milstead, Tim Warren, Bonfire Orchestra and Homemade Jamz.
The People’s Choice Judging Tent will open at 11 a.m. Saturday for attendees to sample barbecue from different competition teams and vote for their favorite. There also will be a special St. Patrick’s Day Children’s Parade at 11 a.m. Saturday, and films from the Southern Foodways Alliance BBQ Collection will be screened throughout the weekend.
Some streets in the Fairpark District will close early to accommodate the festival, said Debbie Brangenberg, executive director of the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association. South Commerce between Troy and Clark Boulevard, and East Troy from South Commerce to Fairpark Drive will close Wednesday at 5 p.m. and reopen Sunday morning. Parking lots south and west of City Hall will also be closed.