Huntington BBQ Festival returns to help community and bring fun

Members of the Petunia’s Pig Pit crew who are organizing the Huntington BBQ Fest are (front row from left) Brenda Rosen and Sabrina Newcomb; and (back row from left) Larry Rosen Jr., Dennis Newcomb and Norm Sisemore. The barbecue contest event takes place Aug. 25 at the Huntington County Fairgrounds.
Members of the Petunia’s Pig Pit crew who are organizing the Huntington BBQ Fest are (front row from left) Brenda Rosen and Sabrina Newcomb; and (back row from left) Larry Rosen Jr., Dennis Newcomb and Norm Sisemore. The barbecue contest event takes place Aug. 25 at the Huntington County Fairgrounds. Photo provided.

The Huntington BBQ Festival returns for its second year on Saturday, Aug. 25, giving hungry patrons an all-you-can-eat meal and a vote for the best barbecue while helping two local ministries at the same time.

The event takes place from noon to 6 p.m. at the Parkview Huntington Hospital Show Arena at the Huntington County Fairgrounds, rain or shine. Organizer Brenda Rosen says with a theme of “Feed the Hungry,” all proceeds from the festival will go to the New Life Meal Ministry and the Salvation Army’s food pantry.

“It’s our chance to give back to the community for those in need. People shouldn’t have to choose sometimes between, ‘am I going to eat today or am I going to buy medicine?’” she says. “I know what it’s like to have some rough times and have somebody help you out. We’ve always thought, anytime we could do something like that to help some people, we like to do it.”

Rosen says at least seven smokers will be on site, cooking up barbecued ribs and chicken, some starting as early as 5 a.m. the day of the event. Side dishes, soda and water round out the meal. Hamburgers and hot dogs will also be available, and a bake sale will be held.

“We’re providing the meat, and the charcoal and the wood, but they (the contestants) have to provide the food for the sides themselves,” she explains. “So they are even going out-of-pocket on top of spending their day.”

Among the contestants are local barbecuers The Berg Ale Haus and Petunia’s Pig Pit. The crowning of the best barbecue is by people’s choice, Rosen says, with customers voting for their favorite categories. A grand trophy will go to the top vote-getter.

Music is also on tap for the day as well, with three bands, Deep Fried, Star 69 and Wehr Rock of Elders performing. Deep Fried plays country and classic rock; Star 69 has hits from the ’80s and ’90s; and Wehr Rock of Elders specializes in a variety music mix.

A cornhole tournament will also be held, and Hoosier Camel Encounter will provide camel and pony rides for children.

There is a fee for the meal, with a discount for kids 6 to 18 and free for children ages 5 and under.

Volunteers to help out with the event are also welcome. For more information and to sign up for the cornhole tourney, call Market Street at 356-9997.