If you needed a reminder that the Memorial Day weekend is time for the Best Dam Barbecue festival, the smells wafting across Boulder City should do the trick.
The 10th annual event kicks off at 4 p.m. Friday and continues through 6 p.m. Saturday. It will be held in Bicentennial and Wilbur Square parks in downtown.
“We want to get more locals involved,” said Christy Springgate-Hill, chairman of the festival and president-elect of the sponsoring Boulder City Rotary Club.
Approximately 10,000 people are expected to attend.
The festival kicks off Friday with opening ceremonies and a chance to preview Saturday’s big competition. Activities are scheduled until 10 p.m. There will be live bands on stage, games for children and an opportunity to “get some barbecue before the lines get too busy,” Springgate-Hill said.
Before the actual cooking begins, waitresses from Jack’s Place Sports Bar will serve as “meat inspectors” to ensure that nothing has been seasoned, marinated or cooked in advance.
The main event is Saturday, with festivities scheduled from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
During Saturday’s competition, barbecue masters from across the country will compete in four categories: chicken, pork, ribs and brisket. They will abide by Kansas City Barbeque Society rules.
They will be vying for $12,500 in prizes, with everyone from first- through 12-place in each category, along with the reserve grand champion and grand champion, receiving cash, Springgate-Hill said.
“It’s not so much about the money as it is about bragging rights,” she said.
Trophies also will be awarded.
Additionally, as the Nevada state barbecue championship, the grand champion is automatically qualified for the Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational Barbecue, held in October in Lynchburg, Tenn., as well as the American Royal World Series of Barbecue, held in October in Kansas City.
Though most of the teams compete strictly to compete, five also double as vendors selling their barbecued meats, Springgate-Hill said.
There will be a variety of other food vendors as well, along with crafters, activities for children and barbecue demonstrations. The annual Memphis Barbecue KidsQue Challenge will return to the festival from 2-5 p.m., offering a top prize of $100 to the best grilled meat made by a child in the 6-12 and 13-17 divisions.
A highlight Saturday is the annual rib- eating competition between the fire and police departments, which gets underway at 1 p.m. According to Springgate-Hill, the fire department has won every year.
Special this year will be an appearance by Counts Kustoms of Las Vegas. Known for its customized vehicles and History Channel show “Counting Cars,” it is expected to display several vehicles at the festival.
“This is a first. They have never been to Boulder City before,” Springgate-Hill said.
Boulder City Cruisin’ Association is sponsoring a car show in conjunction with the barbecue festival.
Proceeds from the festival benefit the nonprofit Rotary club’s various projects, including donations to Emergency Aid of Boulder City, Lend A Hand, Senior Center of Boulder City, and several activities at Boulder City High School.
Admission to the barbecue festival is free.
For more information, visit www.best dambarbecue.com.