Barbecue Festival events herald 30th year

Oct. 04, 2013 @ 08:17 AM

WELCOME — Lexington's annual barbecue festival is reaching a milestone this year and the celebration is shaping up to fit the momentous occasion.  
On Oct. 26, Uptown Lexington will host the 30th anniversary Barbecue Festival from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The event is free to the public and will feature music, activities and all the barbecue a person could possibly eat.
"It's just amazing that we're here celebrating 30 years," said Stephanie Saintsing, executive director of the festival.  "It seems like just yesterday that the first festival began. I'm truly proud of everyone who has made this festival possible over the years."
Close to a quarter of a million people are expected to attend this year's festival, where an estimated 15,000 pounds of barbecue will be served. This year's festival for the first time will feature a wine garden, located behind the Civic Center on Third Avenue. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the site.
During the festival's media preview luncheon on Oct. 1, Richard Childress and winemaker Mark Friszolowski unveiled the Childress Vineyards 2013 Fine Swine Wine. This marks the ninth year Childress Vineyards and Bob Timberlake have collaborated on the special edition wine.  
"Every year it gets bigger and better and that's due to the people involved," Childress said of the barbecue festival. " I think a lot of it is the people who are involved and really make it happen. The whole community is excited about everything and it's a tradition. Lexington is known for its barbecue and to be able to do this is a great deal."
Darius Rucker headlines an all-star lineup of some of country music’s biggest names. Joe Nichols, Brett Eldredge, Chelsea Sorrell, Josh Thompson and Jason D. Williams all are scheduled to perform at the Stage 1 Grandstand. Five other stages will feature such stars as Lacy Green, Ross Coppley and the Marble Alley Band. The Edward C. Smith Civic Center for the first time will offer festival-goers and chance to enjoy musical performances inside the historical theater.
Events leading up to the festival begin Sunday with Childress Idol and continue up until the big day. The Tour de Pig cycling event and the BBQ Big Bass Tournament are scheduled for Oct. 12, the Hawg Shoot High School Air Rifle Match, the annual Hawg Run and the Ridin Hawg Wild motorcycle run are planned for Oct. 19 and a golf tournament will be held at Lexington Golf Club Oct. 19-20. 
"The challenges are making sure that we look at every detail and there are a lot of details," said Saintsing. "Our goal every year is to enhance what has worked and improve in all areas of the festival. I feel as if we've put on a great show this year and I look forward to thousands of people coming to Lexington and enjoying the festival."
The Kay Saintsing Memorial Blood Drive will take place Oct. 26 at the YMCA, 119 W. 3rd St., from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Kay Saintsing played a key role in organizing the first festival in 1984. She died unexpectedly in 2002 and Stephanie, her daughter, took over as executive director.
"With it being the 30th anniversary we wanted to do some special things and implement some special attractions into the mix," Saintsing said. "Certainly, it has been an entire team effort. It's just a pleasure to work on this event  and I'm truly happy that we reached this milestone and are celebrating our 30th anniversary."
Some of the special attractions include bicycle stunt shows, a hogway speedway, a car show,  a trampoline quad power jump and a rock climbing wall. Shuttle and trolley service to the festival is available.
For more information and a complete schedule of all day's events, visit  

Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or

Quick food facts on how much of what is expected to be served at the 30th annual Barbecue Festival
• 3,000 dozen sandwich
• 5,000 hot dogs
• 420 dozen hot dog buns
• 560 gallons of BBQ slaw
• 50 gallons of chili
• 210 gallons of extra dip
• 6,000 pounds (200 cases) of french fries.
• Approximately 980-1,000 cooked shoulders.