The planning committee is gearing up for the Quincyfest Blues and Barbecue, coming up May 1-2, according to chairman Cal Lutz. The committee has been meeting regularly to plan for the annual event, which draws thousands of visitors to downtown Quincy.
Some eager cooks start arriving on the Courthouse Square just after midnight to set up. Others opt to wait until later. They'll start grilling mouthwatering barbecue as early as 6 a.m., with teams from all over the region arriving to compete in the Backyard Barbecue for over $6,000 in prizes and trophies. First place winners in the chicken, pork and rib categories will walk away with $1,000 each, a trophy and bragging rights.
Second place winners get $500 plus a trophy, third place is $250 plus a trophy, fourth place is $150 and a certificate, and fifth place is $100 and a certificate.
A $75 fee per category is required to enter the cookoff and the deadline to enter is April 21. Any entries after April 21 will be charged a $50 late fee.
Non-competing vendors are also welcome. A fee of $150 is required, and the deadline is the same. There is also a $50 late fee.
Applications are available at Quincy City Hall or online at Quincyfest.com, Lutz said.
Barbecue is only half of the festival. The music is what a lot of people come to enjoy. Committee member and music chairperson Cynthia Henry said the music this year is better than ever..
Local local musicians will kick off the music at noon. At 2 p.m. Detroit's own "Harmonica" Shaw will take the stage. Last year, lightning and rain canceled most of Shaw's performance. Henry said many fans were disappointed that Shaw only got to play a few tunes before Mother Nature shut the music down.
An added treat this year will be Eddie Kirkman. The well-known blues man will team up with Shaw and the pair will perform for an hour together at the end of Shaw's set.
"If you like blues, you're going to like these guys separate, but together you're going to love them," Henry said.
The festival comes to an end with a performance by "Biscuit" Miller.
There will be lots of activities for the kids through the Gadsden Arts Center, with hands-on crafts, face painting and sidewalk chalk drawing. Other events include an antique car show on Washington Street, tours of the Leaf Theatre, and demonstrations by artisans on the east side of the square.
The International Festival begins at 5 p.m. Friday, featuring music and talent from around the world. Be prepared to chow down on Hispanic, Carribean and southern traditional foots, and talented young people will fill the stage with dance, music and the spoken word.