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By Amye Stivender
Driving down Jefferies Boulevard on Friday or Saturday night, the aroma from some of the greatest barbeque cookers could be smelt for miles. The local event, Smoke in the Boro, held its fourth annual South Carolina Barbeque Association (SCBA) cook off at Coastal Electric Cooperative Outback. The event is a fundraiser for the Colleton Center and Coastal Electric Cooperative’s community assistance program, the Coastal Electric Trust Incorporated, both non-profit organizations. There were thirty cooking teams, from Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, some local groups from Colleton County as well, lined up ready to compete for the win. The event kicked off on Friday afternoon by the Walterboro High School’s Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps who presented the colors and performed the National Anthem. While local based band, Back Road, performed live on stage, guests were invited to purchase tickets to taste “Anything Butt” barbeque. Each cooker provided a signature side for individuals to sample, from chocolate cake to bologna on a stick. Crowds buzzed through the venue, eagerly sampling a range of foods and enjoying live music and great weather. On Friday night after the gates were closed to guest, each cooking team spent the night making their famous barbeque which was presented to SCBA-certified judges by 10:00am Saturday morning. Each of the cooking teams, prior to the event, filled out an application and paid to compete in the event for a cash prize. On Saturday afternoon, as crowds again filled the event, individuals were able to purchase tickets to taste barbeque from each cooking team and purchase whole butts if they desired. Going to the Dogs Band and Grapefruit Moon, entertained guest for the day with live music and local churches were able to set up bake sales to raise money.
Behind the scenes, volunteers worked very hard organizing this event and Executive Director of the Colleton Center, Jean Harrigal, said “We could not have done this without our sponsors and volunteers.” Harrigal also said that
this event brings people from all over and is a wonderful family oriented event that is open to the public. Events like this are a great way to showcase all of the exciting things that Walterboro has to offer. The City of Walterboro’s Tourism Director, Michelle Strickland, said “Smoke in the Boro is such an asset to our Spring event schedule.” Strickland understands that events like these help out local business, “With crowds of approximately 450 each day, it brings in overnight stays, which gives our hospitality industry a boost, not to mention the day trippers that access our amenities while they are in Walterboro.” The event was a huge success by all who attended and has grown over the past four years. Some cooking teams were new to the event, including Carolina Squires cooker Brian Pearson who said, “The event is awesome. We are currently #3 in the state and love to come out and talk to folks.” Other teams, including Ruby’s Que, from Summerville, who said this was their third year competing inthe event but the top prize was given to Backwoods Barbeque. As the event concluded, plans for next year’s event were already in the making said Harrigal, “I just want to say how much we appreciate Coastal Electric for partnering up with us because they provide the ideal location, staff, security, water, electricity, and are very open to growth.”