By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Expect traffic changes and lots of smoke in Fairpark today and tomorrow.
The Link Centre is hosting its second Don’t Be Cruel BBQ Duel in the downtown district. Almost 100 teams are competing in the state’s barbecue championship.
Roads and parking lots have been closed to accommodate the teams and the television crew for “BBQ Pitmasters,” which is filming an episode this weekend.
Fairpark Drive is now a one-way street away from Main Street. It connects to Clark Boulevard, which crosses the railroad tracks to Front Street and makes a loop around Fairpark.
The majority of the parking lots behind City Hall closed Thursday. Others are closing at 5 p.m. today.
Those lots are in front of Tri-Vista Rehab, along the railroad tracks facing BancorpSouth’s headquarters and on the east side of City Hall.
The parking lot behind Fairpark Salon, Trustmark Bank and Hodges Orthodontics will stay open all weekend.
Those spaces are meant for customers at those businesses.
General parking for the duel is across Main Street at the BancorpSouth Arena. Handicapped parking is on the south side of City Hall.
Vehicles can access the handicap spaces by taking Fairpark Drive south and turning right behind City Hall.
The route also provides parking access to people doing business today inside City Hall and at the building next door, which houses Monogram It.
South Commerce Street is open until Troy Street and provides access to the parking lots behind Trustmark.
The event opens to the public today at 11 a.m. It’s free to get in. Lunch and dinner plates are $6.
Competitors aren’t expected to have samples. Saturday, people can buy five samples at the People’s Choice booth for $3.
The barbecue duel is the Link Centre’s annual fundraiser.
11 a.m. – Public events open. BBQ plates on sale for $6. Bob Ray on stage.
Noon – Lucky Jefferson on stage.
5:30 p.m. – Dinner BBQ plates on sale for $6.
6 p.m. – Bonfire Orchestra on stage.
8 p.m. – Busted Screen Door on stage.
11 p.m. – Festival quiet hours begin.
10 a.m. – Public events open. On stage: Miss 98 Live, Atlanta Falcon Reggie Kelly.
11 a.m. – BBQ plates on sale for $6 and People’s Choice voting starts. Tupelo Hound Dog dancers on stage.
Noon – Surviving Allison on stage.
2 p.m. – Pay-Per-Blues on stage.
4 p.m. – Awards ceremony.
5 p.m. – Event ends.