Santa Fe College Boots ‘n BBQ Cook-Off and Fundraiser

Follow the smoke to Florida’s most fun winter weekend!

Grab your hat and hang onto it real tight! Two top notch, highly acclaimed entertainers head the bill at the third annual Santa Fe College Boots ‘n BBQ Cook-Off and fundraiser Feb. 10-12.

Songwriter/guitarist Jimmie Van Zant is one of the headliners. A native of Jacksonville, his musical style is country, rockabilly, and Southern rock.

As proclaimed on Van Zant’s Myspace page, “… you just know that if Jimmie is singing’, preaching’ and layin’ down the law, Southern Rock Music is alive and well. Southern rock is the staple of today’s country music and many are looking for what Jimmie has naturally.”

He has made three albums: “Southern Comfort,” “My Name is Jimmie,” and – the latest – “Cut from the Same Cloth.” Don’t miss Van Zant’s performance at 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12.                                                  

Boots ‘n BBQ’s other stellar performer is Alex Ortiz. He is a stand-up comedian who has headlined at The Apollo, Funny Bones, and The Improvs. He’s been on Comedy Central’s Premium Blend, Latino Laugh Festival, and was “Showtime at the Apollo” TKO Comedy Champion of 2002.

A multi-talented former Chicago fireman, Ortiz has recently been filming a children’s sitcom called “Chefsters.” It shows kids how to cook nutritional but fun foods, like healthier versions of cheeseburgers and pizza. He also appeared in another children’s television series, “The Mystery Of.”

Ortiz will do several performances; when the times are set they’ll be announced at www.bootsnbbq.com.

There’s plenty of the best, most scrumptious, down home eatin’ you can imagine along with the great entertainment at Boots ‘n BBQ. More than 70 professional barbecue teams cook their best meats at Florida’s most fun winter weekend on the Bradford County Fairgrounds, just an hour from Jacksonville and 30 minutes from Gainesville.

This year’s cook-off is the Florida Bar-B-Que Association State Championship for 2011, one of three FBA Triple Crown Series contests, and a Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue qualifier event.

In addition to sizzling, fragrant barbecued beef, pork and chicken you’ll find mouthwatering cakes so moist and light you’ll slap your momma.

But Boots ‘n BBQ is also about the students of Bradford County – and raising money to fund scholarships so they can attend Santa Fe College.

SF Boots ‘n BBQ is an important event in Bradford County, where the spirit of community is strong. It brings together the best down-home bakers and candy makers. Recipes that have been handed down in families through generations are used to craft delectable sweets to be sold – with all the proceeds going for scholarships.

A new fundraiser this year is Kiss the Pig, a contest with a twist. Instead of the loser kissing a pig, the winner gets to do it! Eight prominent Bradford County citizens are competing with each other to see who gets to smooch the pig.

Whoever brings in the most votes/money wins. The roster of candidates is at www.bootsnbbq.com. Each vote is $5; vote early and vote often – ballot box stuffing is encouraged. And all the funds go for scholarships.

SF Boots ‘n BBQ has plenty of family fun. There are bounce houses, trains, a kiddie tractor pull, and a kiddie arcade with crafts and face painting. There’s also tethered hot air balloon rides and a petting zoo.

Thursday night features a gospel sing. Friday night has a “Starke Idol” contest, and Saturday brings a “Minute to Win It” type event where members of the local fire department face off against their peers from the police department in a Guns and Hoses contest. Santa Fe College cheerleaders will perform and some SF athletes will do games and sessions with the kids.

There’s a bike ride, too. Cyclists can ride either a 25 mile or a 55 mile course. The cycle entry fee includes festival admission, a T-shirt, a number, and a BBQ meal afterwards. The cost is $35 until Feb. 8; $40 after that – all part of the fundraising for Bradford County students.

The 2011 festival runs 5-9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 10, 5-10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11 and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12 at the Bradford County Fairgrounds, rain or shine. Admission is $5 per day.

To learn more call Kathryn Lehman at 352-395-5355 or 904-964-5382 ext. 5355,  or e-mail kathryn.lehman@sfcollege.edu. Visit www.bootsnbbq.com for images, more information and travel directions.