The smell of smoky barbecue and the sound of intense competition will return to Yazoo City this weekend with the fifth annual Fire & Feast BBQ Competition and Festival.
The Memphis Barbecue Network-sanctioned event will be held Friday and Saturday at the Yazoo County Fairgrounds.
“The dynamics have changed this year,” said Shanitra Finley, director of the Yazoo Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. “The last four years, we focused on the entertainment part of the festival. But this year, we are focusing mainly on the competition.”
As of press time, the festival had about 20 teams registered for competition. That list continues to grow.
“People are still bringing in entries,” Finley said. “We want as many people as we can get. Last year, we had about 40 teams so we are hoping more will continue to come in.”
The festival brings in a number of competitive barbecue teams to Yazoo City while giving back to the community. Fire & Feast is proud to benefit the Yazoo City chapter of the Boys & Girls Club.
But there is also time to celebrate a love of the barbecue lifestyle.
“The last few years, we haven’t been able to socialize with the barbecue teams like we wanted to,” Finley said. “Some of these teams are international teams who have won competitions all over the world. Now that we are focusing more on the competition, we will be able to rub elbows with them, get to know them personally and how they got into the barbecue world.”
Yazoo City’ own barbecue princess and Food Network Chopped star Leslie Scott will also be at this year’s festival.
“We now have a local celebrity with Leslie,” Finley said. “And some of the other teams have competed on shows as well. We have some stars coming to Yazoo City.”
The festival will also award $21,325 in cash prizes, along with great trophies for this year’s winners.
Fire & Feast is also sponsored by CF Industries, Visit Mississippi, Ubon’s Barbeque of Yazoo City and Budweiser. It is presented by the Yazoo CVB.