Updated Tues., Oct. 2, with BBQ winners & fundraising total
The grounds of the Ada Jenkins Center in Davidson were a multi-ring circus Saturday for the center’s 4th annual Fire barbecue festival and 5K run.Fire is the center’s biggest community event of the year, and a major fundraiser for services that range from the Learn Works after school program to free health and dental clinics to food and counseling services.
This year’s festival raised $20,000 toward the center’s budget of about $1.5 million. But more than that, said board co-chair Rodney Short of Cornelius, “It’s a great community day for us. It’s an opportunity to bring the community together.”
The action actually began Friday night when backyard and professional barbecue chefs arrived to set up their smokers and ovens for Saturday’s barbecue competition. Nine competitors cooked pork barbecue overnight, then spent Saturday morning chopping and pulling the meat in preparation for a competition judged by a panel of local luminaries.
Jeff Cress of Davidson sells his barbecue under the name “Southern Smoke,” serving parties and weddings. “I”ve been cooking all my life,” he said. His pork is hickory-smoked slowly all night.
“I got here around 6 last night, and put the meat on around 8,” Mr. Cress said around 10:30 a.m. Saturday as he chopped meat with a heavy cleaver behind his tent.
Amy and Jamey Low and Wade Brown of Smokey J’s BBQ of Mooresville were hand-pulling pork at the next tent over. They said their meat also is slow cooked over coals of hickory and applewood.
Saturday morning’s festivities began at 10 a.m. when 119 runners took off around a 5K course on Davidson’s West Side in the Fire 5K. Dexter Cherry, 44, of Huntersville won the race, climbing the final hill on Sloan Street and crossing the line in 20:25. He finished 38 seconds ahead of Dennis Kazmierczak, 42 (21:03). Winning the women’s division and finishing 6th overall was Katherine Sidden, 12, in 22:31. (See our latest “Running” column for the results and photos. in SPORTS»)
The barbecue competition had two categories: Hogmasters, those with professional equipment who either travel to BBQ competitions or are in the BBQ business (restaurant or catering), who competed for cash prizes. Backyard Grillers was the other category. Judges tried each entrant’s work and picked the best.
Diners were able to sample the chefs’ work or buy barbecue by the pound to go from Fat Boys of Mooresville. Cooks included DDQ, Moonswine Racers, 2 Live Cue, Smokey J’s, Snicker Pig BBQ, Porters BBQ, Bordeaux Grillers and Southern Smokes. (See winners bel0w.)
The day also included music and dance entertainment on the Gamble Street stage, a pirate ship bounce house and other fun. The Wells Fargo horse-drawn stage coach offered rides, the Krispy Kreme KK Cruiser – a restored 1960 Flxible Starliner bus – offered free doughnuts.
The Ada Jenkins Center is a non-profit, human services center with 21 programs for those in need in the Lake Norman area.
The Fire fundraiser and other events this year are helping to fund a bit of a growth spurt. The Learn Works after-school program has expanded from 60 kids at Davidson and Cornelius elementary schools to 105, and now reaches J.V. Washam Elementary in Cornelius as well. Meanwhile, the free dental clinic also has expanded its services.
And more people are seeking help at the center, which served 19,000 individuals last year, according to Mr. Short. “The needs and services just continue to grow in the community,” he said.
Find out more about the Ada Jenkins or make a donation at www.adajenkins.org
Snickerpig was crowned King of the Grill and took first place in the Hogmaster class, with second and third going to Smokey J’s and Moonswine Racers. In the Backyard Griller division, Bordeaux Grillers was judged s the beat, with Porter’s BBQ coming in second. The People’s Choice award went to 2 Live Cue. Best Set-up was awarded to DDQ.