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Friday Foodstuffs: A Really Big Backyard Barbecue (aka The NJ State BBQ Championship)

Think your backyard barbecue is big? Come on down to North Wildwood this weekend.

Ah, the backyard barbecue. Enjoying the sun and company of friends while grilling up some burgers and dogs. What fun.

But let’s say your happy little cookout was suddenly invaded by several teams of ‘que-crazed zealots who think you don’t know anything about real barbecue. And you respond with an “Oh yeah?” And they come right back at you with a “Yeah!” And then you bust out the “Then it’s ON!” – and the battle commences.

News of this glorious competition travels quickly, and all the activity has now spilled out from your backyard to the street. Your block has been blocked off. People far and wide are pouring in to see what all the noise is about…and the smell of brisket, ribs and chicken being cooked low and slow intoxicates them. The wonderous scent also brings traveling groups of blues players to your block, and they are so overcome that they feel compelled to break out into song…all day and night.

And that, my friends, is how the NJ State BBQ Championship and the Anglesea Blues Festival got started.

OR, if you want to only believe the facts – from one parking lot in 1999 to six blocks this year, the NJ State BBQ Championship and Anglesea Blues Festival have grown into a huge weekend event. They are expecting a crowd of over 70,000 this weekend, and the number of competing ‘que crews is up to 70 now – and they evidently had it cut it off at that number simply due to lack of space. And while you can’t sample the goodness from all 70 competing teams, there are enough BBQ vendors there for you to enjoy.

The food and blues fun down in North Wildwood begins today, when the festivities are opened to the public at 4 p.m. Admission to the festival is free, by the way.

So what else is going on this weekend?

In Ocean County

On Tuesday, it’s the start of the Ocean County Fair at Robert J Miller Air Park in Berkeley Twp.

A Little Ways Away...

If you haven’t gotten enough Jersey blueberries, Mood’s Farm in Mullica Hill is having its annual Blueberry Festival tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. On Sunday, it’s a Blueberry Tasting at Historic Whitesbog Village at 1 p.m. The testing is $5 per person, and you must call ahead to reserve a spot.

Renualt Winery in Egg Harbor City is having a New Orleans Carnivale Festival & Craft Show on Sunday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

And If You're a Bit More Adventurous...

Saturday is also the day for the annual South Jersey Caribbean Festival at Wiggins Park on Riverside Drive in Camden. The festival runs from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Peeking ahead to next week, the Feast of Our Lady of Mt Carmel Italian Festival in Hammonton, the 136th Feast to be exact, begins on Monday. 

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