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Sixth annual 'Smokin' in Hopeful' set March 16

HOPEFUL, Ga. -- This small Mitchell County community may be a tiny speck on the map, but it plans to be the center of the state for barbecue cooking teams on March 16.

Scott Lewis, event chairman, said the day will feature cooking competition, great food for those attending, shopping and entertainment for the entire family.

Cookoff teams are expected to arrive early that Saturday at the Hopeful Volunteer Fire Department, located on Highway 97 about 12 miles south of Camilla. The entertainment is expected to begin at 10 a.m.

"Smokin' in Hopeful provides funding utilized to operate the Fire Department, purchase needed equipment to ensure firemen safety and provide the financial stability of the department," said Lewis.

"This is our sixth year and we are planning the biggest and best event ever."

"There are several opportunities to participate in including competing as a cookoff team, purchasing grilled chicken plates, shopping with the Smokin' in Hopeful vendors, enjoying the entertainers and making a monetary donation to the Hopeful Volunteer Fire Department."

Dennis White, chairman of the cookoff team committee, said the teams competing may enter one, two or all three of the designated categories -- pork ribs, Boston butts and chicken. The entry fee is $100 per team for each category.

The teams will compete for cash prizes including $500 to the first place teams in each category. Second and third place is worth $300 and $200, respectively. Those entering all three categories will be eligible to compete in the steak category for an additional fee of $50. The winner of the steak category will win $200.

Also, a People's Choice Award will be presented with the winner receiving a trophy. And, new awards include a Grand Champion team category worth $300 and a Reserve Champion team worth $200.

Grilled chicken plates will be pre-sold for the event for $7 and can be obtained from any member of the Hopeful Volunteer Fire Department or from Hopeful Peanut Co. at (229) 294-4920. Plates will be served between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and can be consumed on the site or taken home, said Beech Williams, chairman of the lunch committee.

Angie Shirah, coordinator of the Sweet Tooth booth, said a variety of homemade goodies will be available this year from the "great cooks in the Hopeful community."

Lanair Worsham, entertainment coordinator, said the event will also include an eating contest. Anyone interested in entering can contact Worsham at (229) 328-7221.

Also, several vendors have signed up to display their wares at the cookoff.

The event is a combination of fun times and helping a great cause, Lewis said.

"We appreciate the volunteers of the Hopeful Volunteer Fire Department and their commitment and passion for all they do," Lewis said. "They are one of the reasons Hopeful is such a special place."