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BBQ & Blues a smokin’ success

Huge crowds and record receipts were the order of the weekend as the fifth annual Barnesville BBQ & Blues Festival proved to be the best ever by far thanks, in part, to the residents surrounding Lamar County including Pike County. Crowds at Friday night’s free concert were at least triple to those of last year. Saturday night’s blues concert also had record attendance. The weather, always a factor, was perfect. The members of the 44 teams on hand for the barbecue cookoff were also well pleased. ’They were all happy. They love coming here. They like the clean environment and the events downtown. Everybody I talked to said they would be back next year,’ chamber president Amanda Rose reported Monday. Festival chairman T.J. Imberger said the positive buzz surrounding the event carried over past the weekend. ‘˜I am still hearing from people this morning (Monday) about how much they enjoyed it,’ he said. One way festival attendance is measured is through the amount of trash generated. A seven-man crew of CH2M HILL OMI men (a sub-contract company of Barnesville) worked from 8 a.m. – 12 noon Sunday cleaning up the downtown area. Supervisor Milton Odom reported just at seven tons of trash were removed. A drive, sponsored by The Herald-Gazette, resulted in over one ton of the disposable items being collected and recycled, Odom added. Imberger reported crews of workers like Odom’s ‘“ supplied by both the city and Lamar County ‘“ are what makes BBQ & Blues unique. ’Other communities try to do these things but they just can’t. We had a great committee of some 30 people. We had about 150 volunteers. Our local governments pitch in and do a lot for us. It is pretty rare for governments to step up and commit staff and resources. We appreciate each and every person who worked on or attended this year. It will be even bigger and better next year,’ Imberger said.

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