Beach, Boogie & BBQ Festival
Karen and I are what you might call “festival people”. If there is a festival nearby, I will most likely be there. And I’m so happy to have Karen to share these experiences with. Besides festivals, I also enjoy eating and drinking, so when Karen mentioned the Beach, Boogie, and BBQ Festival, I was totally on board.
This three-day event is home to the Official South Carolina Barbecue Championship with proceeds benefiting the OMAR Shriners. Although we expected loads of BBQ, we quickly learned that most teams did not prepare BBQ on the first day. As it turns out, the first day was an “anything goes” competition, with vendors serving samples of a wide variety of delicious concoctions. Day 2 was the actual BBQ competition, while day 3 included a wings competition. Days 1 & 3 were similar in that you could purchase tickets for $1 each and use those tickets to buy samples (each sample cost 1 ticket). During day 2, attendees had the option to buy a $10 wrist band which gave them access to as many free samples as they’d like, as supplies lasted. We’re planning to go on day 2 next year.
But, back to our experience. The first thing I noticed, aside from the delicious smell of food, was the stage where a live band was entertaining a good-sized crowd. I did not catch the band’s name, but they did a great job of adding to the spirit of the festival. They played mostly 60’s and 70’s music, although in between sets their song of choice was “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke. (Don’t judge me, I thoroughly enjoy that song, as did Karen’s teenage stepsons.) Over 70 vendors were set up in a large square; people were waiting in lines anxious to try each vendor’s unique samples. Karen and I made our way to the ticket tent, where we each purchased ten tickets with the thought that we could share each other’s samples, thus trying 20 different items. Karen’s step-sons also got ten tickets each, and everyone shared with Karen’s daughter.
Originally, we decided to divide and conquer, with the boys starting at one end and the ladies starting at the other. We still had preconceived notions that we would find a lot of BBQ, and were slightly disappointed (for only a minute) when we realized we had come on the “anything goes” day. As it turns out, the food was delicious, and by the end of the night Karen and I were full (although the same could not be said for Jacob and Mason, her step-sons). I should also note that Karen and I’s first stop was the beer tent, where we were both slightly disappointed with the selection. Michelob Ultra ended up being the drink of choice for us both. Wine was also an option, and anyone who knows me is probably surprised I didn’t head directly there. But honestly, who drinks wine with BBQ?
As I said, most of the food was delicious. I had the best shrimp and grits I’ve ever eaten (which may not be saying much since I’m originally from the north), and Karen and I both agreed the grape salad was our favorite sample of the night. We also tried some unique wings, potato salad, meatballs, and hillbilly nachos. For those of you who don’t know what hillbilly nachos are(am I the only one?), they are potato chips covered in baked beans, BBQ pork, and macaroni and cheese. When I type it out, it doesn’t sound as delicious as it actually was. I also had the pleasure of trying alligator, which wasn’t as tough as I thought it would be.
Not everything was delicious, as is to be expected. Karen had some pretty terrible ham (so terrible that Jacob had thought it was bologna). We also tried some catfish stew, which I had never had before. To me, it tasted like catfish thrown into tomato soup, and I’m not sure if that’s what most catfish stew tastes like? What I do know is that it was not for me, and Karen agreed.
For dessert, we tried some banana pudding (which included chunks of pineapple) as well as a Guinness cupcake. The boys both got bacon cupcakes, which they thoroughly enjoyed.
All-in-all, it was a great night. It always helps to be surrounded by fun people, and the food was interesting and mostly delicious. I’m looking forward to next year.
Total Cost: $10 per person