WEST JEFFERSON — Scheduled for August, the Blue Ridge BBQ & Brew Festival is supposed to be the largest competition barbecue event in North Carolina and the de facto state championship. The only issue is paying for it.

The committee for the event is still searching for sponsors to help cover the $15,000 startup costs of the festival. While the event does have some sponsors already committed, they are still a ways off from getting the job done.

Competition barbecue cook James Killian, a member of the Jack’s Old South 2006 world champion team, is helping Blue Ridge Theater and Event Center owner Steve Mochen put on the event.

“I’ve talked to a few people who originally gave me a ‘maybe’ and now won’t do it,” Killian said. “This is a very important event for the county. We’re bringing in $200,000 to $300,000 over Labor Day weekend, it’s going to be a ton of money going into the county.”

So far, the event has garnered four title and main stage sponsors, Boondocks Brewing, Dr. Pepper, Miller Insurance and Vannoy Construction. Other current sponsors include Jefferson Landing, Ingle’s and AEV.

Killian said a big help has been getting Boondocks on board early. Since a major part of the event is the brew festival side of it, having Boondocks owner Gary Brown be able to connect with brewers has allowed them to feature dozens of breweries from around the High Country.

He added the event won’t cost nearly as much in the following years, but the initial startup costs are a major hump to get over.

Proceeds from the event will benefit organizations including One Vet at a Time, Camp New Hope, Musicians of Mercy and Project Graduation.

People or businesses interested in sponsoring the event can go to blueridgetheater.com or call (336) 982-4888.

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