ROCKINGHAM — If you hear a band or smell great food this weekend, there is a good reason.
The annual Holy Smoke Barbecue and Music Festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at First United Methodist Church in downtown Rockingham, said organizer Sharon Nichols.
This year marks the 17th year for the outdoor music festival and family fun day open to all in the community.
“Holy Smoke Barbecue and Music Festival has been a great time to meet new people, share in a great meal and hear some of the best music around,” said the Rev. Mike Sykes, First United Methodist pastor. “It’s a fun day.”
Live music on stage includes the famous Classic Soul Beach Band from Fayetteville at noon and the popular Lumber River Quartet gospel group from Lumberton at 1:30 p.m. Jeanine Hanson will open the event at 11 a.m. followed by Ronnie Moore at 11:30.
Wiley Mabe and his cooking crew will prepare his award-winning barbecue for $7 plates and $4 sandwiches. Pizza from Papa John’s will also be available by the slice for $2 or a whole pizza for $12.
Inclement weather caused last year’s festival to move inside the fellowship hall and although it didn’t stop the show from going on, it did cause some in the community to think the event had been canceled. Nichols said rain or shine, this year nothing will change. In fact, an additional take-out lane will be added for those who don’t want to attend the festival but want to eat barbecue. Those wishing to use the lane are asked to enter on the Randolph Street side of the church’s parking lot and drive underneath the brick shelter in front of the entrance to the fellowship hall.
The children’s area will offer carnival games, face painting, crafts for kids to make, sidewalk chalk and playground equipment.
New to this year’s festivities, said Nichols, will be the “5th Quarter,” an event held after each home Richmond Raiders football game at various churches across the county. Different bands and refreshments will be offered from 10 p.m. to midnight at First United Methodist.
Another new addition for Saturday will be a barbecue cooking contest with teams cooking “Chef’s choice” of anything but beef, said Nichols. Teams will set up today and compete for trophies tomorrow in categories for ribs, chicken and pork. To enter the contest, contact Tim Capel at 910-995-6159.
“The Holy Smoke Barbecue and Music Festival is not just for the church. It’s for the whole county, and everybody’s invited,” Nichols said. “This year it’s also a fundraiser. Part of the proceeds will go to Our Daily Bread and Place of Grace. It is a community family fun day. It’s entertainment for the community so come out and have some fun. It’s open to the public and admission is free so bring a lawn chair and stay all day.”
Reach reporter Matt Harrelson at 910-817-2674 and follow him on Twitter @mattyharrelson.