"Barbecue in Warren County is indeed evolving," according to Melissa Anderson at the Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry (WCCBI).
Anderson, who serves as director of chamber operations, said the chamber is currently planning the Warren All-American BBQ Festival.
According to WCCBI's website, the event is slated to run July 18 through 20 and will feature a Kansas City BBQ Society (KCBS) sanctioned State Championship Cook-off. The site lists the cook-off purse as being worth a minimum of $3,000.
Times Observer file photo
Patrons crowd the promenade at last year’s RibFest at Betts Park. The 2013 festival will see some changes, according to organizers at the Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry.
"We have been working closely with the KCBS to develop this competitive portion of the All-American BBQ Festival," Anderson said. "Our state championship designation also enables our competitive event to become a qualifier for both the American American Royal Invitational and Jack Daniels Invitational, which are high-stakes national-level BBQ events."
The Warren All-American BBQ Festival will take the place of Warren Rib-Fest.
"The All American BBQ Festival, which will place a greater emphasis on BBQ and the BBQ culture, will present a brand new slate of opportunities for BBQ enthusiasts to experience," Anderson said. "For those still seeking their 'rib fix,' have no worries - we ensure you that you will still be able to find them at the All American, along with a variety of other BBQ'd treats."
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives, however, has officially recognized the event.
In a non-controversial house resolution, introduced by State Representative Kathy Rapp on Oct. 4 and passed Oct. 15, the house recognized, "the 'Warren All-American BBQ Festival' as an official State BBQ Championship in Pennsylvania."
House resolution number 901 of 2012 reads, "Whereas, the Warren All-American BBQ Festival will be an annual event in Warren, Pennsylvania; and whereas, the Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry will further the art of hardwood smoking and BBQ through public education at the festival; and whereas, the Warren All-American BBQ Festival is a sanctioned event of the Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS), and as such will draw contestants from all over this commonwealth, as well as several other states each year, to participate in the event; and whereas, the Grand Champion of the Warren All-American BBQ Festival will receive an invitation to the American Royal Barbeque Cook-off; therefore be it resolved, that the House of Representatives recognize the Warren All-American BBQ Festival as an official State BBQ Championship in Pennsylvania."
The KCBS official website does contain a listing for the event, but lists it as beginning on July 19 rather than July 18. The site still lists the event as running through July 20. It is one of four KCBS sanctioned events listed as occurring on those dates nationally. The other three are set to be held in Tennessee, Kansas and Wyoming.
Besides the event listing on their website, WCCBI has set up a Facebook page for the event.
Due to the size of the event, Anderson said, plans are focusing on locating the event at Betts Park.