By Sarrah Peters, News Editor
The annual Smoke on the Falls barbecue competition returns to Noccalula Falls on April 7 and 8 for the eighth year.
The competition, sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, allows professional divisions to competitively cook pork butt, pork ribs, chicken and beef brisket on Saturday, while the backyard divisions cook chicken and pork ribs. On Friday, for the second year, the sausage cook-off sponsored by Dean’s Sausage will take place. Winners for all divisions, including the Sausage Cook-off, will be announced at 4 p.m. on Saturday. Teams can win prize money, trophies, ribbons and more in all divisions.
This year’s guest judge will be Darren Knight, a YouTube sensation and comedian known as Southern Momma from Southside. He will hold a meet and greet with fans to sign autographs and take selfies.
“He loves Noccalula Falls Park,” said Janet Tarrance. “He was here during Christmas. He’s excited about coming. He’s actually going to bring his momma to the barbecue festival with him.”
Admission to Smoke on the Falls will be free on Friday, April 7. Attendees can meet some of barbeque teams.
On Saturday, April 8, tickets are $5 and free for children ages 4 and under. Gates will open at 10 a.m. Everyone who enters the event will be entered to win a free grill, sponsored by Academy Sports and Outdoors.
Smoke on the Falls will feature live music. Carl Brady will play first, followed by New Delusion. The music will wrap up with a performance by Within Reason, sponsored by The Still. McDonalds with Ronald McDonald will be giving out free coffee and smoothies.
Food and arts and craft vendors will be set-up throughout the park.
In addition to music, there will be a Jack’s Kids Zone, featuring all sorts of inflatables and games to entertain the children. The Factory will be setting up its Mini Barbarian Challenge course.
On Saturday morning at 8 a.m., the Smoke Your Buns 5k Run will take place. The race, sponsored by Gadsden Regional Medical Center, is open for late registration until 7 a.m. the day of the race. Late registration is $35. This year the race is chip timed.
At 1 p.m. on Saturday, the Popeyes Wing-N-Biscuit Eating contest will be held. There will be two divisions, the Youth Division for ages 12 to 17 and the Adult Division for ages 18 and up. The Youth Division costs $5 to enter the contest, and contestants have to eat 10 wings and two biscuits in two minutes. The Adult Division costs $10 to enter, and contestants must eat 15 wings and six biscuits in three minutes. Space is limited. To sign up, contact Janet Tarrance at firstname.lastname@example.org or 256-549-4658. Prizes include gift cards, trophies, t-shirts and bragging rights.
“If the kids get bored and want something else to do, Noccalula Falls Park is always open,” said Tarrance.
The Humane Society Pet Rescue and Adoption Center will also be out by Noccalula Falls holding a roadblock from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“They always do it during Smoke on the Falls,” said Tarrance. “They seem to have a really good day as far as donations. We fully support them and are excited that they do it. So come on out and support the Humane Society.”
The Humane Society is hosting Mutts and Butts at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 8. The group will leave from the Noccalula Falls wedding chapel. Humane Society Director Christi Brown recommends arriving a few minutes early to find a parking spot. Bottled water and waste bags will be provided.
The Humane Society is also holding volunteer orientation at the shelter at 11 a.m. that Saturday. To register, call 256-442-1347, x 0.