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Doerun to host festival, barbecue competition

DOERUN -- The 31st annual May Day Festival is taking place in downtown Doerun on Saturday, and with that comes a barbecue competition.

The competition will include 27 teams whose members will cook through the night Friday. Chad Kimbrell, a coordinator of the event, said there are several categories through which people will be competing, including barbecue sauce, half-chicken, ribs and Boston Butt.

Judging will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, with winners to be announced at 3:30 p.m. First place is $700 and a trophy; second place is $450 and a plaque, and third place is $300 and a plaque.

An overall champion, who will win an additional $1,000, will also be named, Kimbrell said. A major sponsor of the event, D&B AC Mechanical Services of Sylvester, is expected to give out a cash prize along with a large green egg and 4-foot trophy.

Sixteen judges will decide the winners.

Although only a part of the festival, the barbecue itself is a big draw for a city of Doerun's size, officials say, and the hope is that it will continue to grow.

"To be in a town this small, it is unrealistic to have (something) this big," Kimbrell said. "(Twenty-seven) teams is the largest crowd we've had in six or seven years. Especially with the economy the way it is, that's incredible. It took $250 to enter, and probably another $200 for the meat -- that's a lot of money (spent) for a chance to win."

Festival events, all taking place in the downtown public city park, will start with a parade at 10 a.m. Food vendors, a hot dog-eating contest, arts and crafts, as well as children's entertainment will be among the activities.

The festivities will conclude at midnight. Coordinators say that singers Faith Jackson and Shane Owens will be among the acts to take the stage that evening. There will be no admission charge for the concert.

All proceeds for that day will go to the Doerun Booster Association, an entity that raises funds for city needs including facilities and equipment for its public safety departments and providing for a city Christmas tree.

"It's just something to give back to the community," said Dewayne Turpin, president of the association. "We put it right back in and give it back to the city."

Last year, between $3,000 and $4,000 were raised with somewhere between 2,000-5,000 people in attendance, Turpin said.

"It helps boost the local economy," he added. "It's helped out a lot."