Hannibal Bar-B-Q Festival draws teams, vendors from area and across nation

HANNIBAL, Mo. -- The Hannibal Bar-B-Q Festival brought a mixture of activities to Oakwood over the weekend, with highlights including teams serving up Bar-B-Q dishes for top honors in the competition, live music performances and a Jeep Jamboree show.

Jason Krigbaum, coordinator for the festival, said teams from the local area, Oklahoma, southeast Missouri, Iowa and other regions were on hand for the competition and to serve their dishes. The festival was the first of its kind for Hannibal — visitors would normally have to travel to a community like St. Louis for an event of this size — drawing 15 vendors and 20 teams for the competition. Krigbaum said he was appreciative of the level of community support to bring the festival together.
“For a first-year event, first night, it went almost textbook,” he said, stressing that many people asked him about details for an event next year.

Doug Dry, owner of the Rebel Pig from Palmyra, said the first evening of the event attracted about 300 people to his food truck. He said he looked forward to what Saturday and Sunday would bring with the chance to grow the brand and meet new people.

“For a first-time event, that's really a great thing,” he said. “The response, as far as the support from the locals and outside — it's been absolutely amazing.”

Not far away, Mike Williams, owner of Bro's BBQ in Hannibal, checked on ribs — he was preparing brisket, chicken, pork and ribs for the competition. He is preparing to open a new restaurant behind Hardee's on James Road, and he enjoyed the camaraderie with fellow Bar-B-Q lovers.

“It's been excellent — just watching people talking to different people, seeing where they're from, just mingling and talking to people,” he said.

Michelle Dent-Jaurez, Lupe Juarez and Melissa Manning from Country Butcher Shop were busy preparing and serving Cowboy burgers — a mixture of beef, pork and bacon. Michelle Dent-Jaurez said the festival made a strong local impact, with visitors coming from all over to visit local businesses and stay in hotels during the weekend.

“It's very awesome. It's a great event for the community,” she said. “We talked to people who came in from Kirksville, Mexico, Mo. I talked to some folks last week who were going to come down from Iowa. It's a big draw for the community.”

Tim Scheer and eight-year-old Carter Baynes were busy, too. They are two members of the Shake 'N Bake Competition BBQ Team from Washington, Mo. Baynes was responsible for the team's people's choice entry in the competition and various other projects on Sunday.
“So far it's been pretty fun,” he said.

Scheer said the team has competed all over the world, including the Netherlands, Australia and Italy. And he credited Bar-B-Q with forming a powerful bond for members of the team and countless people attending the festival.

“Without Bar-B-Q, we never would have done half the things we've done in our lives — like traveling and meeting people, we have friends all over the world now — it's crazy,” he said. “And it's all because of Bar-B-Q. You talk to people with Bar-B-Q, and it's nothing but a smile.”

tmcdonald@courierpost.com