BBQ event adjusts as wine and beer village spreads into downtown

By Jeff Smith

Brody Alexander works on getting his meatballs ready before the Kidsque on Aug. 25, 2017. He went on to receive Grand Champion in his division. Alexander made meatballs with mozzarella cheese, seasoning and a little bit of barbecue sauce.

As the end of summer comes to the end there is still one event to be held that is central to the uniqueness of Hill City’s events. Wine, Brew and BBQ is happening again this weekend.

The competitors are going to be in Hill City by Friday and start cooking that night. But those who are in town will have to wait until Saturday afternoon to try the barbecue.

People can try all of the food that was cooked at the People’s Choice tasting on Aug. 25.

This starts at 1:45 p.m. and then goes until the barbecue teams run out of food.

“It starts after all of the competitors have all of their turn-ins done,” said organizer Shane Alexander.

He said people need to head down to Elm Street before the event starts in order to get their tokens purchased.

As of last week there were  25 competitors coming to the Wine, Brew and BBQ event. Alexander expects there will be close to 30 teams competing. As far as those attending, there could be close to 10,000 people that come for the event.

Wine, Brew and BBQ is a Kansas City Barbeque Society sanctioned event. In order to compete, teams will spend hours prepping and cooking chicken, pork and brisket.

The teams that come are looking to receive points in the KCBS team competition. Every team at a contest will receive points, even the last place team. There are also additional points awarded based on the amount of teams at an event.

KCBS sanctions over 500 barbecue contests worldwide. They also network with related trade associations and other contest-sanctioning organizations, distribute information essential to the organization such as trends in barbecue related products and equipment and team up with other food organizations and the media to promote barbecue.

The Tin City Lodge #112 is sponsoring the event.

“Tin City Lodge took it over this year but we have always been involved in it,” Alexander said.

Alexander said there are numerous other sponsors to thank too.

“Many have been with us many years and are still helping us out,” Alexander said.

There won’t be a wine and beer village downtown this year. Instead, there is a Wine and Brew Fest as part of the event. Visitors and locals will be able to buy a cup and then they can socalize and drink for four hours. There will be breweries that will have two oz. pours. For wine, there will be a punch card with 30 punches. This allows people to drink 30  one oz. sample of wine with a wine cup. Both of the cups are $30 apiece.

“You get all the samples you can drink in four hours,” Alexander said.

The Wine and Brew Fest will be located right by the event tent where all of the action is throughout the weekend. The tent will be located in between the Twisted Pine Winery and Maria’s Mexican Restaurant. At the tent is also where performers will be throughout the weekend. Pumpin Ethyl will be there on Friday night. Paul Larson will be there at noon on Saturday followed by the Hill City Slickers and then Brent Morris and Company.

Open containers will be allowed on Main Street for part of the weekend. Cups will be allowed to be carried from Slate Creek Grille to the Hubcap Diner. Alexander said close to a dozen different breweries  and six or eight wineries will be participating. Main Street businesses that have the wine, beer and liquor licenses will be participating in the event too.

A kiosk will be set up where people can buy the event cup. People can also buy them at the participating businesses.

The Wine and Brew Fest will be taking place Aug. 25 from noon- 4 p.m.

Alexander said there was a change because it was hard to get the wineries and breweries at the event for two days straight.

Alexander said the Wine and Brew Fest is one way to get more of the businesses involved.

“Hopefully we can get a bunch of people going up and down the street shopping, enjoying a beer, a cup of wine,” Alexander said.

Food vendors will be there near the event tent throughout the weekend too. Black Hills Q will be coming back with their barecue food truck. A friend of the Hill City barbecue competitors is going to compete and will also sell food at the event. His business is called Camp House BBQ.

“Hopefully the businesses in and around town can have some sort of barbecue to go along with everything,” Alexander said.

Alexander is thinking that everyone will be all along Elm Street. That street will be closed through the duration of the event. If they don’t all go on Elm Street there might be a couple on Walnut Avenue heading to the Boys & Girls Club.

Friday is the second year for the KidsQue.

“You don’t have to have a barbecuing background,” Alexander said.

He invites all families to come down to the Hill City Senior Center at 3 p.m to understand the competition rules. The competition will start at 5 p.m.

There will also be a cornhole board game at the Wine, Brew and BBQ. There will be a competition to see who can throw the most bean bags into the boards. Those who can do it will be entered in with a ticket to receive the cornhole boards.

This year, Wine, Brew and BBQ will see an increase in community involvement  as the event unfolds, which is a huge success for a small town like Hill City.