Local News

Sebring barbecue festival heats up today

SEBRING - It has been called The Central Florida BBQ Festival, The 12 Hours of Barbecue and The Pig Fest, but whatever you call it, it's about cooking up finger-licking barbecue for a family friendly good time.

The event kicked off Friday at Firemen's Field/fairgrounds and continues today with free admission from 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.

"We've called it a lot of things and it still is all those things," Sebring Firemen Inc. President Charlie Taylor said Friday. "But, I would term it today 'The Sebring Firemen, Inc. Barbecue Festival.'"

It was a sanctioned event with barbecue teams competing, but there were conflicts with calendar dates, he explained.

So this year a lot of the teams that have competed in the past have come in, but they are competing for one thing - the Peoples Choice Competition, Taylor said. Each team will be given two pork butts to cook for the award. He estimates the winner will be announced around 2 p.m. on Saturday.

For the public, vendors will be selling barbecue and other foods such as corn dogs, ice cream, kettle corn popcorn, cotton candy, drinks and beer.

Taylor is expecting about 45 to 70 vehicles for today's car show.

The Logan Dressel Band will perform starting at 6 p.m. and Bob Weed will be playing the oldies throughout the day, Taylor said.

Tim Reynolds from the Pig In and Pig Out restaurant in Clewiston cooked up ribs Friday for festival goers.

"It's all about the ribs," he said.

Reynolds has been coming to the barbecue festival since 2002.

About three or four years ago it was so cold there were snow flurries around 2 p.m., he said.

"It's still going to be good food," he said, even though its not a sanctioned Florida Barbecue Association event.

Things were popping literally at Kimmy's Sugar Shack as J.B. Benton stirred a large kettle of popcorn.

"Once it gets going you've got to keep stirring it," he said.

The burner provided welcome heat on the cool day.

"It's nice today; during August and you are doing this it's awful," Benton noted.

As the big batch of popcorn was ready to be dumped from the hot kettle, Benton exclaimed, "Here it comes - crunch time."

They will also be serving cotton candy, drinks and caramel apples with a variety of toppings.

The Collision Course Barbecue team from Sebring prepared for their first role as a barbecue vendor.

They will be in the People's Choice Competition, Mike Crenshaw said.

"When we are in competitions, we do brisket, pork, chicken and ribs," he said. "I've won lots of awards with baby back ribs and we are having those today."

Crenshaw noted how the festival has downsized.

"Usually we have 30 teams here," he said.

Look for the festival at the north end of the fairgrounds property near the South Commerce Avenue/Sebring Parkway intersection and near the water tower.