By Sara Arms
The second annual Great Americana BBQ Festival will take place on August 26th and will include a day of barbecue, tastings and entertainment at Harlinsdale Farm.
The air in Franklin that day will be filled with “the sweet aroma of hickory smoke and simmering.” Guests of the event will enjoy some of the most ‘finger licking good’ barbecue around, prepared by professional pit masters and iron chefs from across the country.
There will be tastings from local distilleries and breweries, a whole-hog smoking contest as well as live entertainment. The big event of the day will be a Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) sanctioned barbecue competition in which pit masters and iron chefs from all over Tennessee will go pit to pit to earn the People’s Champion award. There will also be various other food and craft vendors.
The festival is popular regionally because middle Tennessee’s culinary scene is culturally centered on barbecue as a popular style of preparing meat. In addition, giving back to local communities is important to middle Tennesseans as well.
“The overall scope of the event is ultimately the fact that all the proceeds go to the community,” says Nathan Perry, one of the head event coordinators. “I grew up in Williamson County as did several members of our club. We have really strong ties to Franklin and the community and it’s really nice to have an event that goes to the betterment of the overall community.”
The festival is hosted by The Franklin BBQ Society and the Franklin Noon Rotary Club (FNRC). “The FNRC has dedicated over six decades of service to its community and has distributed more than two million dollars to local charities. FNRC continues to produce The Franklin Rodeo, Williamson County’s longest running annual event, celebrating its sixty-eighth year… Come experience the Great Americana BBQ Festival. It is great barbecue and great fun, all for a great cause,” says Nathan.
Nathan and Devin Gilliam have taken leadership in planning the Great Americana BBQ Festival this year, relying on their experience in planning other larger events such as the FNRC’s annual rodeo, to make the event a success. They had limited barbecue competition experience, but have worked tirelessly and with many other hardworking members of their club to insure it is a raging success! Last year was the first festival, which went so well they decided to continue as an annual event. “Planning this year has been a lot easier than last because we have a template to work off of. Last year it was literally a clean slate,” says Nathan. “We were able to tap into our experience in working the rodeo which gave us the confidence that we would be able to put on the event. We have some great members in the club, there are 142 active members, and there’s a lot of good help and different skill sets,” he says.
“Our goal is for this event to be like our rodeo, where sixty-eight years from now we’re planning another Americana fest. We want to grow it to where it is a fundraiser that raises millions of dollars to go to the community,” says Nathan.
Learn more and get your tickets to this tasty event at greatamericanabbqfestival.com.