A cool fresh breeze coming off the river, the roar of the crowd shopping and walking down the street and a smell of freshly cooked barbecue so strong it demanded attention.
Downtown Paducah was flooded with people from all around beginning on Thursday, September 22 through Saturday night. The famous Barbecue the River was held for the 22 year.
The event is filled with live music, boutiques and shops, inflatables and games for children and food. It is designed to raise money for local charities.
Barbecue on the River organizers said the barbecue teams have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to charities through this event.
Each team picks a charity they wish to raise money for and then they set up booths selling food or merchandise.
Whatever is raised at the end of the weekend goes directly to their chosen charity.
The 2016 totals have yet to be finalized but last year there were more than 30 barbecue teams. The highest total raised was $25,732.51 by Tilford’s Q Krew, the for Purchase Area Sexual Assault and Child Advocacy (PASAC).
Barbecue on the River also host a cooking competition. Participants can purchase VIP tickets which allows them to follow the judges through the scoring processing.
Food and Fun
Some of the food options sold at Barbecue on the River included: funnel cakes, pulled pork sandwiches, briskets, ribs, cotton candy, fried pickles, Oreos and Twinkies, popcorn, barbecue nachos, cheese fries corndogs, hotdogs and more.
“My favorite part was the food for sure,” said Malayna Smothermon, from Murray. “I always get ribs.”
With festivals like these, long lines can be expected.
“The lines are always super long,” said Paducah native Marcel Hopkins. “But it always seems to go by quickly because the time waiting is spent deciding how much you can eat without going overboard.”
After attendees had their fill of barbecue, there were plenty of activities for the whole family.
For the children there were various inflatables to jump and play in, toys being sold, crafts, balloon animals, puppets, light up toys, and activities such as face painting.
The final tallies of this year’s event can be seen at bbqontheriver.org with the next week.