BBQ fest brings competition, economic boom

Jonesboro Downtown BBQ & Music Festival has huge economic impact on Region 8
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Downtown Jonesboro Barbeque and Music Festival is taking place Friday and Saturday.

While there is a lot of events going on, the big event is the barbeque.

BBQ competitors began setting up downtown Friday morning.

Thirty different teams representing seven different states are competing.

Rick and Barbara Reeves have been competing in BBQ competitions for a decade.

The couple said they start preparing about a week in advance, buying the meat and ordering spices you cannot find locally.

It is the spices that make the difference, according to the Reeves.

Rick said it takes some time to perfect their rubs and sauces.

"We've changed a lot because we went to a cooking school about a year ago and really learned a lot of things," Rick Reeves said. "So we've got one rub that we put on one of our pieces of meat that has like four or five spices mixed together."

The Reeves got started in competitive cooking after having success in a BBQ competition at Arkansas State University.

The teams will be cooking Boston butt, brisket, chicken, and pork ribs for this competition.

Judging is on Saturday. $10,000 in cash and prizes will be rewarded.

With the festival going on downtown, businesses in the area are experiencing an economic boost.

Event organizers said they see the festival as an economic investment due to the amount of people that come to town.

They spend money at gas stations, restaurants, and stores which generate sales tax for the city.

Sarah Reeves is the regional manager for Eleanor's Pizzaria and Skinny J's and she said the BBQ festival is always a big boost for them.

"Beyond just the concert tomorrow night, you'll have a lot of people that set up and they're not going to eat their own BBQ because it's so much," Sarah Reeves said. "They'll come out and eat tonight, so we'll even have teams that come downtown and eat because they're so close to just walk down here. We'll get a ton of people from out of town for the concert tomorrow and just to kind of see everything that's going on."

Reeves said she is excited to see how pizza sales do during the weekend since this will be Eleanor's first BBQ fest open downtown.

They have even added a BBQ pizza special to stay with the theme.

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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