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29th annual Barbecue Festival serves up family fun

LEXINGTON-There’s nothing like sniffing the aroma, sharing the flavor, enjoying the taste and savoring every morsel of a barbecue sandwich with 150,000 other people at the same time. Sipping a drink. Talking. Laughing.

Saturday, the streets of Historic Uptown Lexington transform into a great big playground with food, entertainment, shopping and lots of family fun. It all begins at 8:30 a.m. and runs through 6 p.m. The festival is free and plenty of parking will be available. Shuttles will provide transportation service from satellite parking lots throughout the city. Amtrak trains, running between Raleigh and Charlotte, will stop in Lexington in the morning and afternoon. The Piedmont and Carolinian reserve the Festival day to make their only stop here during the year.

The uptown areawill be filled with arts and crafts vendors, six entertainment stages, street performers, and festival food. Three large tents serve up thousands of pounds of barbecue sandwiches, freshly made from the festival’s official area restaurants.

The 29th annual event has an impressive entertainment line-up featuring a variety of music including country, beach, gospel, Dixieland jazz, blues, and rock n ‘roll!

Country stars Craig Morgan, Rodney Atkins & Dustin Lynch will be the featured artists on the grandstand for the “Q” Jam presented by Q.104. The band Parmalee and Chelsea Sorrell will perform prior to the “Q” Jam. Eddie Miles will kick off the grandstand festivities.

Chairmen of the Board will perform on the grandstand that morning. Stage 2 will host performances by The Bahama Mamas & Tracy Thornton, Sweet Dreams Trio, Matt Walsh & the Southern Fried Jazz Band. Stage 3, adjacent to the hospitality garden, will feature Jim Quick & Coastline, Ross Coppley Band, and Eric & The Chill Tones. Stage 4 will kick off with a performance by Lifegiver Band followed by the Lexington Youth Theatre, Band of Oz, Underhill Rose & Lauren Light. Stage 5 will host fantastic children’s entertainment. And finally, Stage 6 is filled with local artists including The LeBeaus, Trinity Quartet, Ken Davis Trio, Southern Drive, Childress Idol Finalists, and the band Carolina Moonshine.

The Carnival and Family area provides fun activities for children. And, everyone loves the “Hogway Speedway” racing pigs! Other 2012 festival special attractions include: a 50-ton sand sculpture; juried art and craft show; an antique car show; Corvette exhibit; a Bicycle Stunt Show; “Festival Chop Shop” Lumberjack Sports Show; Rock Climbing Wall and lots more.

The idea to develop a local street festival was the brainchild of Joe Sink, Jr., publisher of the local newspaper, The Dispatch. He brought Kay Saintsing, a local event producer, on board to develop the community event and collectively they decided the festival should celebrate Lexington’s famous barbecue heritage. BB&T agreed to become a co-sponsor …and the festival was born! In 2011, the attendance was estimated at more than 170,000 people and 15,000 pounds of Barbecue was served.

USA today recognized the festival as one of Ten Great Places to Celebrate Food. Travel & Leisure Magazine named it as one of the top 10 food festivals in the country.

For more information, log onto www.barbecuefestival.com or call 336-956-1880.

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