Summer Arrives at the South Sound BBQ Festival

lacey bbq festival
Neil Ostrander was the winner of the 2013 People's Choice award during the South Sound BBQ Festival.


By Mary Ellen Psaltis

lacey bbq festival
Huntamer Park, in Lacey, is the site for the 4th Annual South Sound BBQ Festival on Saturday, July 5.

According to the Lacey Chamber of Commerce and many experienced Washingtonians, summer finally makes its debut the day after the Fourth of July. Celebrate the season, on July 5, at Huntamer Park with food, fun, and music for the fourth annual South Sound BBQ Festival put on by the Lacey Chamber of Commerce.

Keep your fingers crossed for sunshine.

Stephanie Hemphill, Executive Director of the Lacey Chamber, is gleefully counting down the days. “It’s so much fun!” she exclaims.  “And, the key component is that it’s free.”

The South Sound BBQ Festival is intended for the entire family – young, old or anywhere in between, you can have a good time. Wander the park as you listen to music, watch entertainment throughout the day or participate in activities. Food from many local vendors will be for sale with certain items priced at $2.00 keeping a family budget in mind. Those over 21 can grab a beer in the Coors Light Sports Garden. The younger crew can choose from face painting or games like chicken tossing (no real chickens) or bounce through the obstacle course.

Take your shot at the dunk tank. Funds will go to the Ray Kidwiler Scholarship for talented local high school seniors with an interest in business. See whose fate is in your hands – maybe your school principal.

Are you a Back Yard Joe or Jane?

lacey bbq festival
Noel Ostrander was the winner of the 2013 People’s Choice award during the South Sound BBQ Festival.

Put your BBQ finesse to the test by entering the competition. Whether you are a beginner or expert, you can enter. Judges will taste and score the food based on specific barbeque criteria. The five categories are Beef Brisket, Pork Baby Back Ribs, Chicken Thighs, Seafood and an Open category. Spots are still open. To register call the Chamber at 360-491-4141.

Back Yard Joes and Janes can check in as much as twenty-four hours before the competition to get their cooking underway. Yes, that means you’d spend the night at the park tending to your brisket, but think of the tender results. The fee to enter is $100.00.

Festival-goers are encouraged to view the competition, chat with the Joes and Janes, inhale deeply, but sadly are not allowed to sample or purchase their food. You’ll have to go to one of the vendors to satisfy your hunger. Then you can cast your People’s Choice vote for one of the professionally prepared foods.

What else is happening?

Watch the America’s Credit Union Chicken Wing Eating Contest. Think bowls of wings, lots of sauce and bibs. Adults (18 and over) and teens (12-17 years) will compete separately. The competition lasts for a mere four minutes and the winner who consumes the greatest weight of wings wins. Now there’s a trophy not everyone has! The Teen Winner will receive $100.00 and the Adult Winner will receive $200.00. If you want to be part of the competition, you can sign up at the America’s Credit Union booth. Spaces are limited.

lacey bbq festival
Look who showed up last year at the South Sound BBQ Festival.

Are you a Seahawks Enthusiast? Don’t miss this opportunity to get an autograph from a Sea Gal.

Raffle prizes donated from local vendors will be given out throughout the day. Enter by getting a Pit Pass. It’s free. Then visit 15 booths, get stamped and you are eligible, but you must be present to win.

Find ample no-cost parking in the lots around Huntamer Park. The Intercity Transit bus station is right there, too.

The South Sound BBQ Festival is the Chamber’s major fundraising event of the year. Sponsors and vendors pay to participate so that you can enjoy the activities for free. Money spent on food, beverages or at participating vendors supports the whole event.

Grab you sunscreen, your kids and your friends and head over to Huntamer Park in Lacey. Gates open for the South Sound BBQ Festival on July 5 at 11:00 a.m. and the festivities continue through 6:00 p.m. The Coors Light Sport Garden opens at 2:00 p.m. and will remain open until 9:00 p.m. Ricardo’s will be serving food the whole time.

The complete event schedule can be found here.  Find a full list of vendors and sponsors at this link.

Join the Lacey Chamber of Commerce in celebrating summer. As Hemphill affirms, there’s “nothing better than good food, sun, music and free.” I’ll agree with that.

Eat Well – Be Well


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