ADVERTISEMENT

The first-ever End of Summer BBQ event is set for Saturday in Ocean Springs

ADVERTISEMENT

OCEAN SPRINGS, Mississippi — Hundreds of pounds of grilled and smoked meats paired with some of the coast’s best musicians will be the focus of Saturday’s “End of Summer BBQ & Concert in the Park” in Ocean Springs.

Organized by local businessman Tim Wold and others to raise funds for veterans and repairs at the Mississippi Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the first-ever event will open at 11 a.m., with live entertainment scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. in the park adjacent to the memorial at the US 90 East adjacent to Ocean Springs Civic Center. Sufficient parking spaces will be available around and behind the community center.

“It’s all coming together,” Wold said Thursday afternoon. “The food is in the fridges, the briskets have been delivered, the city has come by and we have set up three of our big tents. All barricades are in place, the port-o-lets and garbage cans have been delivered.

“We’re going ahead, probably a little earlier than planned – knock on wood. It’s good to be a little early.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The End of Summer event will feature a dozen amateur grill teams, each tasked with cooking 40-50 pounds of different meats. Festival-goers pay $20 at the entrance to receive a bracelet that allows them to eat all afternoon. In addition, each person receives tickets with which they can vote for their favourite. Winners will receive $4,000 worth of Green Mountain wood pellet grills and trophies.

Additionally, five local restaurants – Tay’s BBQ, The Shed, Murky Waters, Pleasant’s and Fat Bottom – will arrive later in the afternoon with brisket smoked at their restaurants over the previous two days. As noted by Wold, those briskets were delivered on Thursday and prep work was already underway at the restaurants.

The competition between the amateur teams ends at 2:00 p.m., when the professionally smoked brisket is served.

“We’re going to have some of the best food ever at a local festival,” Wold said when the festival was first announced in late July.

Local musicians Billy Miller & Friends Open Jam will open the day’s entertainment at 12pm, followed by The Chitlins at 2pm and SeraBee, including a band of around 9-10 people, taking the stage at 4pm, Wold said, that there will be about 30 minutes between each act to allow the stage to reset.

The $20 grocery bracelets don’t include drinks, but Wold said they’ve kept the prices budget-friendly at $3 for beer, $2 for sodas, and $1 for water. “We don’t charge $5-6 for beer like a lot of other festivals,” he said.

Wold reiterated the community support he has received since he first reached out to local businesses about the festival. Woody’s Roadside is the presenting sponsor, with additional sponsors including Lynn Wade of Weichart Realtors, Green Mountain Grills, FEB Distributing, Pepsi-Cola, Four Bulls and Krause’s Supermarkets in South Dakota (through Four Bulls).

All proceeds from the event go directly to the Wounded Warriors in Action Federation (WAIF), the Mississippi Vietnam Veterans Memorial and local charities including The Lord Is My Help, the DREAM program, the Jackson County Animal Shelter and a Christmas Fund for Children’s toys and bicycles.

“One of the things we hope to do is create greater awareness of the memorial and the park,” Wold said in July. “There are so many people I’ve spoken to who are veterans or have family members who are. A lot of them basically said it was “out of sight, out of mind”.

“But with that, along with the city now budgeting some money for its maintenance, it will continue to be improved and maintained. It is a beautiful piece of property that can only get better.”