The American Legion Post 45 in Canton and other veteran groups are teaming up to host a barbecue contest, live music and more this fall to support local veterans.

The first Red, White and Blue BBQ is Oct. 29 and 30 at the Cherokee County Fairgrounds, 160 McClure St. in Canton.

The barbecue contest is sanctioned by the Georgia Barbecue Association, and will include a professional division with $10,000 in cash prizes and an amateur division, in which contestants will compete for non-cash prizes and people’s choice honors.

Saturday, Oct. 30 is planned to have live bands, a classic car show, a craft fair with veteran-owned businesses, barbecue tasting and beverages, raffles, a children’s costume contest and trick-or-treating.

Tickets are $5 for attendees over 5, and include tasting for five barbecue vendors for the people’s choice event.

Oct. 29 will be invitation only, and will include a “mystery meat” cook-off for both amateurs and professionals for a special prize, included in teams’ entry fees.

Proceeds from the weekend will benefit the Cherokee County Homeless Veteran Program and support veteran suicide awareness with the Cherokee County Suicide Coalition.

There are over 15,000 veterans in Cherokee County, according to John Bruss, a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5262 in Canton who serves on the event committee.

Veteran organizations hosting the two-day event include American Legion Post 45 Canton, American Legion Post 316 Woodstock, Daughters of the American Revolution Hightower Trail Chapter, American Legion Auxiliary Unit 45 Canton, Soleil Veteran Club Canton, VFW Post 5262 Canton, Laurel Canyon Veterans Club Canton and Marine Corps League Detachment 1311 of Woodstock.

Professional competitors will be judged by a panel of GBA Sanctioned Judges while Amateurs will be a combination of guest judges and attendee Votes.

To enter the competition, contact Jim Lindenmayer at 678-983-7590 or jlindenmayer80@gmail.com, or visit www.bbqga.org and find the application under the event tab. Professional team entry is $295 before Sept. 30. Amateur entry is $195 before Sept. 30.

Those interested in becoming a sponsor can email jlindenmayer80@gmail.com. For entertainment opportunities, contact Cheryl Dana at cheryldana60@gmail.com.

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Shannon Ballew is the managing editor at the Cherokee Tribune and the Cherokee Ledger-News. She is a graduate of Young Harris College and lives in unincorporated Woodstock.

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