JEFFERSON — Blue Ridge Theater & Events Center Owner Steve Mochen appeared before the Ashe County Board of Commissioners to give an update on the Blue Ridge BBQ & Brew Festival scheduled for Aug. 30-31.
Formerly hosted in Polk County, the barbecue event has moved to Ashe in 2019, and will bring with it a large crowd from out of town, according to Barbecue Coordinator James Killian, county resident and member of the world’s-largest Kansas City Barbeque Society, who appeared before the board alongside Mochen during its 9 a.m. regular meeting Feb. 18.
“We’re on our way to a very successful event,” Killian said. “It’s going to bring a lot of money into the county, I expect anywhere from $200,000 to $300,000 for the county.”
According to Killian, the BBQ & Brew Festival will be an annual event for years to come, and the county’s second-largest festival behind Christmas in July. Mochen and Killian requested the commissioners’ blessing of the free-entry event, inviting them to judge a pork competition the Saturday of.
“I think it’s going to be a good benefit for the county,” Killian said. “It’s right off the parkway — we’re going to sell a lot of motel rooms… a lot of groceries… a lot of gas, and we’re going to collect a lot of sales tax.”
According to Mochen, Blue Ridge Theater is expecting 500-800 festival attendees on Friday, and upwards of 2,000 Saturday, Aug. 31. Fifty percent of proceeds from the event will go towards charity, Killian said, with local nonprofits Camp New Hope, Musicians Missions of Mercy, One Vet at a Time and Project Graduation as the major recipients, according to Mochen.
Local brewers will be featured at the festival, including Molly Chomper Hard Cider, New River Brewing and Boondocks Brewing, as well as up to 40 professional barbecue teams, according to Killian.
“These are people that bring in $200,000 and $300,000 barbecue rigs,” Killian said. “This is not a backyard type-thing.”
The board said the event sounded great — Commissioner Paula Perry said she appreciated the update, and looked forward to eating some barbecue.
The Blue Ridge BBQ & Brew Festival was first announced in October 2018, Ashe Post & Times previously reported. To learn more about the event, go online to https://blueridgetheater.com/bbq/index.php.