(Orange, Texas)

April 19, 2014

Texas Bar-B-Q Festival will feature new rides, large cook-off contest

Tommy Mann Jr.
The Orange Leader

VIDOR — The Texas Bar-B-Q Festival is back for another four-day weekend full of excitement, carnival rides and games, music, and tasty food.

The Texas Bar B-Q Festival returns to Conn Park, 166 South St. in Vidor, this coming week with big name music attractions, high quality carnival rides and fund for the whole family. The festival will be open from 5 p.m. - 10 p.m., Thursday, April 24; 5 p.m., Friday, April 25, through midnight; Saturday, April 26 from 10 a.m. - midnight; and 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Sunday, April 27.

Admission has also been changed to encourage area residents to experience the new and improved Texas Bar-B-Q Festival. Admission is $2 per person. However, since the festival is at a new location, there is a $5 per car parking fee. Children ages 3 and younger are admitted free.

The festival relocated to the open spaces of Conn Park in 2013, which is located on South Street, the Interstate 10 East feeder road, near Old Highway 90 in Vidor. The festival received a luke-warm reception from patrons but organizers anticipated such a response and knew it would improve with future events.

“We are really excited about the festival this year,” said Ronnie Herrera, president of the Vidor Chamber of Commerce. “We had out growing pains last year, and we are still to a point this year, but it is going to be so much better.”

One common complaint last year was the grounds were all just dirt and sand as more than 200 dump truck loads of sand had been brought in prior to the festival and grass had not yet grown. That is not a problem this year.

“The ground is a lot more solid this year,” Herrera added. “We have grass growing everywhere this year, so it not only looks better but it will help the grounds hold up better, especially for the carnival and our vendors.”

The festival will feature a new carnival provider with Reed Exposition Midway, which is based in Baytown, Texas. According to Herrera, the carnival provider will offer “15 state fair quality rides” for patrons. Wristbands for all-you-can ride sessions will be available at the carnival only, but prices have not been announced.

The festival will include the always popular Bar-B-Q Cook-Off contest, sanctioned by the IBCA, and approximately 40 teams have already registered for more than $7,000 in cash.

Another common complaint over the years for the festival was the lack of barbecue vendors available, at times none, selling barbecue to the patrons. Herrera said there will be no shortage of barbecue items available for purchase next weekend.

“If anyone says they can’t buy barbecue, they are full of corn,” he said with a laugh. “We will have six vendors, including the Vidor Chamber of Commerce, selling barbecue next weekend. We will even have a covered seating area for people to sit under and enjoy their food.”

Popular activities such as the horseshoe tournament will be held on Saturday with registration beginning at 10 a.m., and the always competitive washer tournament has just been added to Saturday’s events with sign-up at noon.

Live music is a big part of this year’s festival and will feature national recording artists, The Bellamy Brothers, which will perform at 9 p.m., Friday.

The Bellamy Brothers are a well known country music act having charted 20 No. 1 singles and having released more than 50 albums during the duo’s 46 year career.

The duo, featuring brothers Howard and David Bellamy, are best known for the hit singles “Let Your Love Flow,” “If I said You Had a Beautiful Body Would You Hold it Against Me,” “Redneck Girl,” “For All the Wrong Reasons” and more.

Special guest act is BB and Company, which will perform at 6:30 p.m., Friday.

Saturday’s music will feature a headlining performance by sensational Cajun music group, Travis Matte and the Kingpins. Also performing are local favorites Texas Thunder and Scott Desormeaux.

Winners from a talent contest held earlier this month will perform on Thursday, the opening night of the festival. Artists scheduled to perform include John Cessac, Abrial Hall and Andrew McCabe.

Guests may bring lawn chairs and blankets to the festival, but coolers will not be permitted.

Herrera said work continues to ready the grounds, including the construction of a new pavilion which will have concrete poured in the next few days. Even with the festival only days away, Herrera knows things will be ready to go at 5 p.m., Thursday.

“I have the best Board of Directors anyone could ask for,” he said. “Even when things get down to the wire, no one gets stressed. Everyone of them are not afraid to dig in and get dirty.

“It’s looking good for the festival,” he continued. “The weather will be warm and there shouldn’t be much rain. We hope to have a great festival and to see everyone out.”

Call the Vidor Chamber of Commerce at 409-769-6339 for more information.