BBQ event coming to Manila

Tuesday, April 3, 2018
The first annual Blazin' BBQ Festival will be held April 21 in downtown Manila. Members of the Manila Fire Department and Moving Manila Forward will be sponsoring the event and invite teams to participate. (photo provided)

The first Manila Fire Department Blazin’ BBQ Festival free to the public is set for Saturday, April 21, in downtown Manila, located at South Baltimore Street beginning at 9 a.m. and going until the evening hours with live music.

Just 40 minutes from Jonesboro and 25 minutes from Blytheville, Manila is a quaint town of about 3,300 in population, ready to show you a good time. Barbecue lovers from all around are welcome to participate in the competition. The Pro Contest entry fee is $125 and the grand prize for this category is $1,500. The Amateur Contest entry fee is $75 and the grand prize for this division is a custom built smoker.

Prizes will also be given to second and third place participants in each division. Judging is based on ribs, chicken and pork butt.

All competitors will be responsible for bite size samples for the Blazin’ sample punch cards which attendees can buy for a small cost at the information booth and use to judge People’s Choice.

Setup for the barbecue competition will begin the night before, Friday, April 20, downtown Manila, beginning at 6 p.m.

The aroma of smoked meats and food truck fixings will greet you in the morning for the official kick off beginning at 9 a.m. Bring the full family to enjoy the days’ worth of activities including a horseshoe tournament, inflatable jumping area, dunk tank and more. Beginning at 9 a.m. is the Blazin' 5K & 10K race raising money for The Michael J. Fox for Parkinson’s Research organization. Live music will begin at noon and play into the evening. At 1:30 p.m. the pepper eating contest commences.

While in the area you can also enjoy the state’s smallest national park – the Herman Davis State Park, located within walking distance of the downtown area on Baltimore Street. Herman Davis was a U.S. Army scout and sharpshooter in World War I. He was fourth on General John J. Pershing’s list of World War I’s 100 greatest heroes. Also within walking distance from the festival is the Manila Depot Museum which features exhibits and materials on the city of Manila's history and greatest heroes.

Also within walking distance from the festival is the Manila Depot Museum which features exhibits and materials on the city of Manila's history and growth in agriculture, education, war and cultural memorabilia. About five miles away visitors can enjoy driving around Big Lake, one of the state’s premier waterfowl hunting and national wildlife refuges including 12,320-acres of beautiful migratory birds, game and typical bottomland forest.

“We’re proud to host a new barbecue festival like this in Manila to generate traffic to the town and to allow another opportunity for community members of all ages and backgrounds to meet and interact,” said event coordinator and fire department volunteer Sonny Dill.

“We’re excited to serve the town and create a memorable family entertainment experience. Hopefully it will generate more business to the local economy and help raise awareness of the good things going on in Northeast Arkansas,” said event coordinator and Moving Manila Forward Chairman Andrew Fleeman.

The Manila Fire Department Blazin’ BBQ Festival is hosted by the Manila Fire Department in partnership with Moving Manila Forward.

To participate, contact Dill, Fleeman or another committee volunteer by reaching out through the event Facebook page at www.facebook.com/blazinbbqfestival.

The deadline for registering to compete and/or join in on the craft fair is April 7 for competitors and vendors.

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