Saturday, April 18, 2015

Leitersburg BBQ Festival a New Local Tradition

LEITERSBURG, MD - Today was the First Ever Leitersburg BBQ Festival, and it was a huge success. So much of a success, some vendors completely sold out of food after only a couple hours of opening!

The music was great.  The food was delicious. And best of all, the event provided a family-friendly atmosphere of games, as well as community.

This was more than just a chance to try delicious BBQ and listen to great music. This was a chance to learn about little-known small businesses in our area, as well as promote agriculture in Washington County.

The Washington County Department of Business Development was on site to promote farming in Washington County, and help encourage purchasing food from local farm markets. Educational children's activities were also provided to help them learn about farming. Everyone who stopped by received a bag of goodies, including all natural soybean oil based grill cleaner. I couldn't think of a better freebie for a BBQ festival than that.

The Washington County Fire and Rescue Association was also present to encourage volunteers to sign up. There's no better way to help serve your community than volunteer - even if you don't want to become a firefighter or EMT, there are plenty other volunteer positions available, including administrative, fund raising, and maintenance positions.

CASA of Washington County Maryland was on site to help promote awareness of their services. If you or someone you know is an abusive environment, contact CASA today for help.

And finally, The Downtown Movement was also present, to promote their next pop-up shop event, which will take place during Blues Fest

Of course, in addition to delicious food, there were several arts and crafts vendors available. A full list of all the vendors is available at the Leitersburg BBQ Festival web site. A lot of the food vendors I had never heard of before, and I will be visiting their business locations in the future, especially the CharColes Hot Sauce Store!

My wishlist for the next iteration of this event is very short. I loved this event, and
1) There was plenty of BBQ pork and beef, but not very much BBQ chicken. Perhaps get Smithsburg Market to bring in some of their famous fried chicken for next year?
2) Many vendors could only accept cash. I would strongly encourage vendors in future events to consider a mobile payment processing system such as Square. Unfortunately, many people don't carry cash anymore.
3) Consider reducing the admission fee, or make it a "donation requested" entrance fee. For a family of four on a budget, $28 ($7/person) is a bit high, considering food was not included in the price of admission.

It is my hope that this BBQ Festival becomes an annual tradition of Washington County - and based upon the overwhelming turnout, I suspect we'll be seeing it again next year.

Ken Buckler is the editor of the WashCo Chronicle