Bradford Fest Boots ‘n BBQ

Professional BBQ teams from Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Missouri compete for top prizes in the Santa Fe College Boots ‘n BBQ Cook-off.

This is an official Florida state championship BBQ cook-off with $10,000 in prizes awarded under Florida Barbecue Association rules. The contest is also a Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue qualifier.

“Last year 21 pro teams and 12 amateur (backyard) teams competed, and I think we’ll top that this year,” said Kathryn Lehman, festival organizer.

Local backyard barbecuers are encouraged to form teams and compete. Many amateur chefs attended a free food demonstration in December for tips on how the judges like to see BBQ presented.

A new contest attraction is the chain saw art competition – the only one in Florida. So far eight artists are signed up to compete. One of them is Santa Fe College graduate Sam Knowles whose chain saw carving of former UF quarterback Danny Wuerffel is stationed outside a Gainesville eatery.

Chain saw art contests are held all over the world and are highly competitive. For those who would like to know more there are many web sites with videos and stories that open the door to this fascinating craft.

In addition to the chain saw art competition, Boots ‘n BBQ features live entertainment all weekend plus a kids arcade and kids crafts. There’s also a cake auction, dessert contest, quilt display, and health and literacy exhibits.

The festival is hosted at the Bradford County Fairgrounds, rain or shine on Friday, Feb. 12 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and on Saturday, Feb. 13 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Admission is $3 daily; children under 12 are free. Boots ‘n BBQ is a fundraiser for scholarships to help Bradford County students attend Santa Fe College.

To enter the barbecue or chain saw competition and for more information call 352-395-5355, 904-964-5382 ext. 5355, or email Kathryn Lehman.