Music, barbecue focus of I-75 Smoke Out

ASHBURN, Ga. -- The can't-beat combination of live music and a showdown to determine the best backyard barbecuer in the region will highlight the 13th annual I-75 Smoke Out BBQ and Music Festival at Carroll's Sausage and Meats here Friday and Saturday.

The benefit festival, which will feature such area musical favorites as Evan Barber & the Dead Gamblers, the Marty Evans Band and Split Creek, is a production of Albany-based Threeforty: A Creative Group and the Hasan Shriners.

"The Shriners have been holding this event for more than a decade and they asked us to get involved to help grow it," Justin Andrews with Threeforty said. "We've been in the music festival business for a while now, and the Shriners are masters of the barbecue festival.

"It was a very good fit."

Barber and the Gamblers, the Evans Band and Split Creek will be joined on the musical stage by area contemporaries Highback Rockers, Chad Hall, Nick Alligood, the J Blues Band and the Shrine Rind Band over the course of the two-day festival.

For barbecue enthusiasts, more than $5,000 in prize money will be awarded for winning entries in various categories. As many as 40 four-person teams are expected to compete for the prize money in chicken, ribs, pork butt, brisket, sauce and Brunswick stew competitions.

Sauce and Brunswick stew prizes will be awarded on Friday, and meat winners will be announced Saturday. The $250 entry fee for the competition gives teams an opportunity to compete in all four meat and the sauce and stew categories.

"This is a non-sanctioned, backyard competition, so there are no strict regulations," Andrews said. "We have teams coming from all over the state, so the competition will be pretty serious."

There will be plenty more for the entire family to enjoy during the I-75 Smoke Out, which will be held for the first time at Carrolls' 315 Whittle Circle location just off Interstate 75 in Ashburn. Other events scheduled include a car show, raffles, food vendors and a number of kids activities.

Advance tickets, which are available at Carrolls and at Threeforty, are $15 for the weekend. Tickets on the day of the Smoke Out are $20. Gates open Friday at 5 p.m. and Saturday at 10 a.m.

For additional information, go online to 340creativegroup.com or www.Facebook.com/I75smokeout.