Barbecue and blues festival coming to Livingston

Published 2:25 pm Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The sixth annual Sucarnochee Folklife Festival and the second Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanctioned BBQ & Blues Cookoff, sponsored by the University of West Alabama, will be held April 17 and 18.

The weekend begins with music, food and fun at the BBQ & Blues Cookoff on Friday at 5 p.m. at the UWA intramural fields.

Visitors can pick the perfect pork, smoked by teams from across the Southeast, in the People’s Choice pulled pork competition.

“Barbecue is a part of the traditional folkways of this area, and we are excited that the second annual BBQ & Blues Cookoff, sanctioned by KCBS, will give our region’s great cooks the opportunity to showcase their talents on a larger stage,” said Dr. Tina N. Jones, UWA’s Center for the Study of the Black Belt executive director.

The second leg of the prestigious Alabama Championship BBQ Trail, the cookoff will feature an $8,000 payout in three divisions. Professional teams will vie in four tasty categories: pork, ribs, chicken and brisket. Backyard teams, comprised mostly of local amateurs, will compete with ribs and chicken entries, and young cookers contend in the kids’ chicken competition.

The optional barbecue sauce competition is complimentary and open to all competitors. To register your barbecue team, please contact the Center for the Study of the Black Belt at (205) 652-3828.

The Sucarnochee Revue, the nationally syndicated radio program that showcases Black Belt music to listeners across the nation and the world, also returns to UWA with a live taping in UWA’s Wallace Hall Auditorium on Friday, April 17 at 7 p.m.

The Revue was recently honored by the County Music Association for its continuing efforts to support the grassroots of country music. The radio show features many of the top acts in blues, gospel, bluegrass, country and roots music from the Black Belt region of Mississippi and Alabama.

The Sucarnochee Folklife Festival begins downtown Saturday, April 18, at 8 a.m. with the Sucarnochee 5K Run and ends that evening with a walking ghost tour of Livingston. The family-friendly festival showcases some of the Black Belt’s best musicians, artists, storytellers and cornbread chefs.

“A celebration of regional folk songs, stories and crafts, the festival hopes to restore memories of rural Black Belt folklore that have faded from many people’s minds,” Jones said.

The day is packed with a variety of activities situated around Courthouse Square. The Cornbread Cookoff is a culinary delight, allowing cooks of all ages to wow the judges in three cornbread categories. Artisans from around the region will create a variety of folk crafts including handmade baskets, wire art jewelry, metal works, wood carvings and pottery.

Gospel, country and bluegrass musicians will take the stage throughout the day, with singer-songwriter Austin Cunningham headlining the event.

Food vendors and artists allow visitors to take home a piece of tradition.

For more information about these any of these events, please contact the Center for the Study of the Black Belt at 205-652-3828 or centerforblackbelt@uwa.edu.