Cloudy skies don't chill festival crowd

May. 04, 2013 @ 04:38 PM

Under cloudy skies people packed into downtown Monroe for the annual Beach Blues and BBQ festival Saturday.

The event began at 11 a.m. and was scheduled to run until 6:30 p.m.

In addition to a barbecue competition and tastings, the event featured musical performances from David Michaels, On the Border and The Catalinas as well as rides, food concessions and a corn hole tournament.

"It's good barbecue," Junior McCarver of Monroe, who attended the event Saturday for the first time, said.

He and others attending the event could be seen with forks, cups and bowls in hand as they worked their way to each booth to try the different kinds of barbecue offered. A number of different teams participated in the event and members of the crowd sampling the various barbecue had a long list of favorites. 

"I love it, it's a lot bigger than last year," Ingram Walters, who participated in the barbecue competition with Bill Lemon, said.

Their team name was Two Men and a Pig. They have competed in the competition in the past and came in fifth place last year. A lot more people seemed to be at this year's event and it appeared that more teams had entered the barbecue competition this year as well. He was happy to see the sale of barbecue tasting tickets offered at this year's event, which was not offered in past years, he said.

"I think folks out here are having a good time in light of the weather," Frank Aikmus, a member of the Union County Board of Commissioners who attended the event Saturday, said.

In all 25 teams competed in Saturday's barbecue competition. The winners were announced around 3 p.m., Tonya Edwards, assistant director of Monroe's Parks and Recreation department, said.

Competition Winners:

Grand Champion:

Robert Gwiazdzinski of Mt. Holly

Team: Flame Master G's

Reserve Champion (Second Place)

Steve Hampson of Waxhaw

Team: Butt Burners Barbecue


Category Winners:


Buddy McCallister 

Team: Knuckleheads Barbecue


Robert Gwiazdzinski

Team: Flame Master G's

Pork Rib

Jess McMullen

Team: I Like Pig Butts and I Can Not Lie

Beef Brisket:

Butch Kelly

Team: Butts R US