SF College Boots ‘n BBQ Cook-Off and Scholarship Fundraiser

Florida’s most fun winter weekend, just 30 minutes from Gainesville!

SF Boots ‘n BBQ is Florida’s most fun winter weekend! There’s something for everyone–fantastic food, family fun, continuous entertainment, kids’ activities, and a 25- or 52-mile rural bike ride for cycling enthusiasts.

Thursday

The festival opens 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 10. “There’s a Southern gospel sing that’s going to be great fun, with performances on the outdoor stage,” said Kathryn Lehman, festival coordinator.

Crossfire Warriors, Joyful Voices and The Backwood Boys will rock the night with their songs. (The Backwood Boys song “I’m So Glad He Didn’t Leave Me” made national charts.) Hamburgers, hot dogs, incredible desserts, coffee, cocoa and other beverages will be available.

Friday

The doors open again 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11. Stand-up comedian Alex Ortiz will be onstage at 7:40 p.m. with his special brand of humor the whole family can enjoy. Ortiz has headlined at The Apollo, Funny Bones, and The Improvs. Recently he has been filming a children’s sitcom called “Chefsters,” which promotes nutrition.

Friday also hosts two “Idol” contests, a “Minute to Win It” contest, and there’s a down-home performance by Country Steel with Ricky Thompson at 9:30 p.m. (In his day job, Thompson is city manager of Starke and a contender in the “Kiss the Pig” contest.)

The Sweet Tooth Café will be open Friday serving up the sweetest desserts this side of heaven. And the barbecue teams will roll in during the evening and set up their stations in anticipation of Saturday’s cook-off.

Saturday

At 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 12, the big day begins. BBQ teams work their magic while entertainment abounds for the whole family. Craft vendors set up for business. The rural bike ride starts at 10 a.m.

And Saturday’s the time to get what you came for! Fill up those special barbecue-craving places in your tummy and savor the flavors until you are completely satisfied. You can buy BBQ from the teams by using Pig Bucks instead of U.S. dollars. (Pig Bucks are readily available at the festival and help dollars go to scholars.)

When you’ve tasted them all and decided on your favorites in each category (ribs, brisket, pork and chicken), cast your votes for the People’s Choice awards. This allows everyone to be a judge and have a say.

Saturday also has something going on in the Kids Korner all day long: face painting, tractor pull, games of skill or sleuthing, putt putt golf, mechanical pig race, where’s the pig?, and many more diversions.

Guest chefs, entertainment schedule

Guest chefs will demonstrate their culinary prowess on the Quality Design Kitchen stage from 9 a.m.-noon and the Chefsters will film a segment of their TV show. Meanwhile there’s an 11 a.m. performance on the outdoor stage by the Clay County Community Band Swing Ensemble. Listen for some of your favorite tunes from the Big Band Era of the 1930s through the 1950s.

Alex Ortiz returns at 2 p.m. with his unique family-rated comedy act.

Your socks will rock at Jimmie Van Zant’s performance beginning 3 p.m. A native of Jacksonville, guitarist Van Zant and his band play country, rockabilly, and Southern rock. They’ve made three albums and are currently on a world tour.

“Kiss the Pig” scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Saturday

The much anticipated pig smooch comes at 4:30 p.m. (For the past several weeks, eight prominent Bradford County citizens have vied with each other in a “Kiss the Pig” contest. Voters have paid to cast ballots, with all proceeds going for SF scholarships. Visit www.bootsnbbq.com to vote for your choice.)

Whichever candidate has brought in the most bucks wins the race, and the “lucky” winner will be announced and perform the smooch. The pig, on loan by a member of Future Farmers of America, will be treated with due care and respect.

The People’s Choice awards are announced beginning 1 p.m. Saturday and the barbecue competition awards are announced beginning 5 p.m. This is the Florida Bar-B-Que Association 2011 State Championship! Boots ‘n BBQ ends at 6 p.m.

Festival hours

Festival hours are 5-9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 10; 5-10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11; and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12; rain or shine. Admission is $5 per day; 12 years and under free. The address is 2300 North Temple Avenue, Starke, 32091.

All proceeds go to fund student scholarships at Santa Fe College. Visit www.bootsnbbq.com for up-to-date information, images, bike ride entry, “Kiss the Pig” voting, and travel directions.

To learn more, call Kathryn Lehman at 352-214-8178 (cell), 352-395-5355 (office) or 904-964-5382 ext. 5355, or e-mail kathryn.lehman@sfcollege.edu.