BEL AIR — Get ready for the meat sweats!

The Maryland State BBQ Bash, organized by the Bel Air Downtown Alliance, will be held Friday and Saturday, August 9 and 10 in downtown Bel Air. The BBQ Bash, one of the area’s most anticipated events of the year, is a free barbecue-themed street festival featuring live music, barbecue (of course!), food and craft vendors, a farmers market, beer and wine garden and children’s entertainment.

The highlight of the event is the Maryland State BBQ Championship, with more than 45 competition teams from the Mid-Atlantic area and beyond competing for $12,500 in cash prizes and the chance to compete in the annual Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue in Lynchburg, TN and The American Royal in Kansas City, MO.

Run and judged under the Kansas City Barbeque Society’s (KCBS) rules and regulations, the event will include four categories — chicken, ribs, pork and brisket. KCBS provides certified BBQ judges who have been trained in how to judge world class barbeque, all while using a blind judging process that is fair and void of personal knowledge of teams being judged.

In addition, more than 40 amateur teams will compete in the MD State BBQ Bash Tailgate Challenge to see who has the best BBQ while competing for cash, prizes and bragging rights. The Tailgate Challenge is a pork rib and chicken cooking contest run and judged under modified KCBS rules. The Tailgate Challenge offers local backyard cookers a taste of the competitive barbecue experience.

For more than 10 years, the MD State BBQ Bash has grown to be one of the largest events of the year in downtown Bel Air. The bash is free for the public and has regularly drawn more than 30,000 attendees over two days with a record-setting attendance of 35,000 in 2015. This event is the largest fundraising effort for the Bel Air Downtown Alliance, and 100 percent of the proceeds benefits the mission and is reinvested locally.

According to Jennifer Anglada, project coordinator at the Bel Air Downtown Alliance, there will be approximately 40 craft and retail vendors at the event selling jewelry, art, accessories, collectibles, pet products and more. Children’s entertainment includes an Arena Club kids activities area, story times, stilt walkers and more. Also on hand will be henna tattoos, musical instrument instruction, handmade aprons, sand art and ax throwing.

The MD State BBQ Bash has partnered with WXCY Radio to bring in five bands, including headliners Dillon Carmichael and Stephanie Quayle. A complete lineup is below. For more information, go to downtown belair.com/md-bbq-bash.

MD State BBQ Bash

Friday, August 9 from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday, August 10 from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.

2 S Bond St, Bel Air, MD 21014

Admission: Free. No pets allowed. Parking: All parking is free in downtown Bel Air on weekends and after 5 p.m. on weekdays. A bus shuttle is available at Bel Air High School and the John Carroll School on Friday from 3:30 to 10:30 p.m. and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

WXCY Entertainment Schedule

Friday, August 9:

5-7 p.m., The Robbie Booth Band

8-10 p.m., Dillon Carmichael

Saturday, August 10:

2-4 p.m., The Grinders

5-7 p.m., Chapel Road

8-10 p.m., Stephanie Quayle.

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by AvenueNews.com

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