Ahh, summer – the season when we spend our time whiling away long evenings with trips to local ice cream shops, craft breweries, or dinner options that let us share a meal with our four-legged friends.

But these gorgeous days and balmy nights don’t need to wreak havoc on your waistline. With community events and activities almost every night of the week, families can stay active and outdoors all summer long.

south sound bbq festival
The South Sound BBQ Festival brings together families, groups, organizations, and teams to participate, volunteer, and make summer great. Photo courtesy: South Sound BBQ Festival.

On Saturday, July 9, bring the whole gang to the sixth annual South Sound BBQ Festival at Lacey’s centrally-located Huntamer Park. From 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., explore, exercise, play, and taste the best our region has to offer.

Throughout the day visitors can browse vendors, enjoy kid-friendly activities like face painting and games, and enjoy live music.

There will also be a full schedule of raffles, martial arts demonstrations, all-ages chicken wing eating competitions, awards, and dancing.

Of course when the air’s laden with smells like wood smoke, slow roasted meats, and tangy sauces, you’re bound to get hungry. Many of the competitors will be offering small tasting plates for as little as $2 and Sierra Burton, Executive Director of the Lacey South Sound Chamber who hosts the event, is pleased to announce the return of two fan favorites: “The Tailgate BBQ and Ben and Jerry’s are the first that come to mind. Everyone is a fan of all the BBQ options we provide but on a hot day everyone needs some ice cream!”

south sound bbq festival
With over 15,000 attendees, the South Sound BBQ Festival is a great opportunity to sponsor an event or activity. Photo courtesy: South Sound BBQ Festival.

The event is a popular one for volunteers from local businesses, groups, or organizations. In future years, Burton hopes to increase the number of attending vendors and expand the South Sound BBQ Festival. “We always want more! We have a thing called a Pit Pass that encourages attendees to check out all the booths. Our vendors love it; they have told us that they get more business than other festivals.”

Interested parties can find information about participating in next year’s South Sound BBQ Festival on the Lacey South Sound Chamber’s website or by calling 360-491-4141. With attendance topping 15,000 it’s a guaranteed way to shake hands with friends, neighbors, and lots of potential new customers.

Sponsorship packages are also available which can advertise your business in the provided recipe card book, Facebook event page, South Sound BBQ Festival website, Lacey South Sound Chamber website, radio announcements, and press releases.

south sound bbq festival
Whichever side of the grill you prefer, come down to the South Sound BBQ Festival for family-friendly summer fun. Photo courtesy: South Sound BBQ Festival.

But at the end of the day, the real focus is food and fun. Professional chefs and pit masters aren’t the only competitors; both Pros and Backyard Joes will work their magic with beef brisket, chicken thighs, pork baby back ribs, seafood, and an intriguing ‘other’ category.

Wash it all down in the Coors Light Sports Garden from noon until 8:00 p.m. because what’s better on a long summer night than kicking back with a cold one?

Whether volunteering, cooking, dancing, or simply wandering the park’s shady pathways, the South Sound BBQ Festival is a perfect Saturday night for the entire family. But don’t worry if you overindulge,

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