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BBQ crews heading to Galax for state contest

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State championship brings music, food and fun to city this weekend.

By Brian Funk, Editor

Experience “BBQ With Altitude” this weekend at the 8th Annual Smoke on the  Mountain event in downtown Galax — Virginia’s official state barbecue championship.
The event will run July 20-21, and the food, music and fun goes all day, from 10 a.m. to midnight.
Galax has always been known for pleasing the ear as the world’s capitol of bluegrass and old-time music, and its natural beauty is a feast for the eyes. With Smoke on the Mountain, the city adds the smells and tastes of barbecue to its symphony for the senses.

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The competition and festivities are a joint venture of the Twin County Regional Chamber of Commerce, the City of Galax, The Galax Smokehouse restaurant and the Memphis Barbecue Network.
 Professional barbecue teams from all over the country will come to Galax to compete for the coveted handmade banjo trophy — made as always by local artisan Tom Barr — and a chance to earn a spot for their team in the 2013 “Memphis In May” World Championship of barbecue in Tennessee.
Winners from Galax are both state champions and qualified for the world title.
Runners-up get fiddle trophies. The instruments reflect that city’s long heritage of traditional music.
Teams, many of which have been featured on The Food Network and The Travel Channel, will compete in such categories as whole hog, ribs, pork shoulder, sauce and the “Anything Butt” category for everything from beef to seafood. There are a few local professional teams that have earned the chance to compete with these teams, as well.
Local amateur BBQ-ers can compete in the “Patio Porkers” division for a chance to enter the big leagues next year as professional teams. Local teams like Nervous Wreck BBQ and Mountain Grillas have worked their way up from amateurs to award-winning pros over the years.
 Stick around after the judging on Saturday afternoon and visit the team booths to get free samples of the entries.
There also will be plenty of barbecue for sale, along with a variety of other foods and drinks.
A wine and beverage garden will be open from noon-11 p.m. daily next to the main performance stage on North Main Street, with selections from West Wind Winery, Mt. Vale Vineyards and Virginia Eagle/Anheuser-Busch Inc.
Live entertainment by beach music favorites will be held both days at the stage near the Galax Farmers Market.
Friday will feature The Catalinas from 4-7 p.m. and The Embers from 8-11 p.m.
Saturday will feature Hip Pockets from 3-6:30 p.m., followed by the contest awards at 6:30 p.m. and headliners The Tams at 8 p.m. until the crowd is too tired to dance.
Free shag dance lessons are available each day at 2 p.m.
Tickets for one day are $10 in advance or $15 at gate. Weekend passes are $20 in advance or $25 at the gate. Other parts of Smoke on the Mountain are free.
There will be free bluegrass and old-time music performances on South Main Street at Barr’s Fiddle Shop on both Friday and Saturday.
A special attraction this year is the Bluegrass Museum Bus on both days, with free tours and jam sessions and a live radio broadcast on Galax radio station WBRF-98.1 FM with Sherry Boyd and Harold Mitchell.
Other special attractions include food and craft vendors, Flex Fly bungee jump, pony rides, bouncy house and Virginia Lottery truck.
 Smoke on the Mountain’s organizers thank their sponsors, including Abilene Motor Express, AEP, Andrews Farming, Barr’s Fiddle Shop, Blue Ridge Crest LLC, Cavalier Supply, CenturyLink, City of Galax, Doctor’s Inn, E.G. Forrest Food Service, Food City, The Galax Smokehouse, Grayson National Bank, H&H Automotive, The Hall Foundation, Hills Coal and Trucking, McGrady & McGrady Law Firm, Mink Motor Sales, Pepsi, Results of Galax, Rotenizer Drapes and Flooring, Tastee-Freez of Galax, Terry Labonte RV of Greensboro, Tractor Sales of Virginia, Vaughan Furniture, Virginia Eagle, Virginia Tourism Corp., Walmart, Waste Industries, WBRF-98.1 FM, WWWJ-1360 AM and Wells Fargo.

For more information on the event, visit smokeonthemountainva.com or twincountychamber.com