The Kentucky State BBQ Festival drew thousands to Danville’s Constitution Square Park over the weekend in its second year as a fall clarion call to meat lovers.
Festival founder Brad Simmons said the event surpassed expectations again.
“Everything went great, and we really couldn’t be happier,” Simmons said.
Judging a festival crowd with free admission and several entrance and exit points is a difficult proposition, but Simmons said a beverage vendor who was not associated with the event told him there may have been 40,000 people total throughout the weekend. Last year, organizers estimated total attendance at 25,000.
The number of hungry heads counted was not as important for Simmons — whose own Lucky Dog Barbecue rig was serving up food during the festival — and the celebrity pitmasters as was the amount of food needed to feed the crowd. After going through 6,000 pounds of meat last year and running out at times, the pitmasters cooked more than 9,000 pounds of meat over the weekend.
Boyle County Solid Waste Director Donna Fechter, who was at the park with her crew early today, said festival attendees and vendors did a good job overall of recycling. There were about three tons of solid waste, including about 1 1/2 tons of recycling, mostly from the vendors.
“The vendors did a phenomenal job of breaking down boxes and recycling,” Fechter said, noting there also were 400 pounds of litter collected. “There was very little trash (mixed in with) the recycling in the containers, which is not normally what we see. There were some we opened up and there was no trash, just recycling.”
Proceeds from the festival will again allow the committee to make a donation to Heart of Kentucky United Way. According to Simmons, organizers will be able to double the $2,500 donation the festival made last year, which is in addition to the $16,000 raised for United Way by the Bourbon Barrel Art Project auction held recently.
Simmons said the festival wouldn’t be possible without the work of 15-20 committee members and the cooperation of the city and county. Next year, he wants to add even more to the festival, including more cooks, which will add more variety and allow for shorter lines.
“It was crowded, but the setting is so quaint and we were blessed with such great weather, how can you beat that?” Simmons asked.