We had great success kicking off the festival season here last week with the Tupelo BBQ Duel on the city’s front porch at Fairpark.
More than 94 cooks rolled in their grills and expertise for the four-day event, which ended Sunday afternoon. This year added a new event, which I hope will become a Tupelo tradition – the St. Patrick’s Day and Tupelo BBQ Duel Kickoff Concert. Hundreds of people came to Fairpark to enjoy good food, fellowship and entertainment.
This St. Patrick’s Day portion of the event evolved after a couple of younger people approached me and asked why other cities have St. Patrick’s Day parades and events, but Tupelo had none.
Thanks to the organizational skills of award- winning volunteer Bev Crossen, Mary Morgan-Brown, Sam Waters, Clayton Asters, Melanie Deas, Bill Deas and Doyce Deas we were able to turn Thursday evening into a great time for those who came out to help with this benefit for the Link Centre and the Tupelo Community Theater.
By Friday morning, local and out-of-town barbecue experts began to set up their grills and tents. While we walked through the crowds, we heard many compliments about the set-up for our contestants, the cleanliness of our grounds and the beauty of Tupelo.
Some of our visitors said they took the time to go to the Elvis Presley Birthplace and other places of interests, while others said they enjoyed what our downtown had to offer – just a few steps away. Everyone we visited said they look forward to returning to Tupelo to visit and compete next year.
These comments and the efficiency of the BBQ Duel speak volumes to the hard work of the people at the Link Centre, who put this together as their annual fundraiser; the volunteers who worked all the booths and the City of Tupelo employees – many of whom volunteered – who work every day to ensure our city runs smoothly.
If the Tupelo BBQ Duel is any indication, we have a great festival season lined up this spring and summer. I hope to see each and every one of you at our events.