Santa Fe College Boots ‘n BBQ Cook-off — Be There Feb. 12-13!

Meet mini horse “Magic,” an AARP Most Heroic Pet finalist!

The roster of events at the Santa Fe College Boots ‘n BBQ festival Feb. 12-13 just keeps growing and growing. Newly crowned Miss Jacksonville, beauty queen Katie Gillard, will perform both Friday and Saturday. This 19 year old community college student is a veteran singer and entertainer who has made a recording with three time Grammy winner Dennis Scott.

Real live miniature horses, just like the ones on a merry-go-round, will be on the scene for book readings Saturday. The horses, which are trained for interactive therapy, are sweet tempered and love to be petted by children and grownups.

These Gentle Carousel Therapy Horses just returned from the Sundance Film Festival where they were featured in a documentary. Each 23-28 inch high horse looks like a character from a children’s horse story.

The chain saw art competition will be at the north end of the fairgrounds. The reason for this is the amount of noise they generate, but it’s fascinating to watch a statue emerge under the hands of a skillful artist. The artists begin competing Friday and finish up Saturday.

This year’s headliner band is Crosswinds, with members Danette Drageset, Jay Becker, Jerry Graybeal, Kelley Jones and Gabe Hamlett. Carport Critters, Union County High School Jazz band, Steel Country Band, the Bradford High School band and chorus and a Bradford Fest Idol Contest will also provide entertainment.

There’s a kids arcade and kids crafts. There’s also a cake auction, dessert contest, quilt display, literacy exhibit and antique cars. “Santa Fe Bradford Fest Boots ‘n BBQ truly has excitement and fun for the whole family – this really is Florida’s most fun winter weekend,” said festival organizer Kathryn Lehman.

All these things, of course, are in addition to the main event, the BBQ cook-off. Fifty BBQ teams from Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Missouri are expected to compete. 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.

Boots ‘n BBQ is a fundraiser for scholarships to help Bradford County students attend Santa Fe College. Pig Bucks, a unique form of money, helps out. Festival patrons use Pig Bucks in place of regular cash. This allows a portion of sales to go to the scholarship fund. Pig Bucks can also buy samples of BBQ in the People’s Choice contest, where festival-goers get to vote on whose BBQ is the best.

The 2010 festival runs 5-9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12 and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13 at the Bradford County Fairgrounds, 2300 N. Temple Ave., Starke, rain or shine. Admission is $3 daily; children under 12 are free.

For more information call 352-395-5355, 904-964-5382 ext. 5355, or e-mail Kathryn Lehman. Visit http://www.sfcollege.edu/bradfordfest.

For more about Gentle Carousel Therapy Horses: http://www.Horse-Therapy.org

For more on the Most Heroic Pet contest: http://www.aarpmagazine.org/lifestyle/most_heroic_pet_contest/