“The best quote of the night was from John Thrift during the awards ceremony. Did you hear him? He said, ‘This is the best thing my wife ever volunteered me for.’”
That’s how Hinesville Downtown Development Authority Director Vicki Davis summed up Saturday night’s Blues and BBQ festival on the streets around the courthouse.
Thrift, husband of county Commissioner Connie Thrift, had a plum job. He was one of five judges in the barbecue contest that featured five area eateries.
“This is the best gig in the world,” another judge, Bob Sprinkle, said.
The judges weren’t the only ones who got to try all of the food. Early festival-goers could buy tokens to taste each restaurant’s fare and then vote on a people’s choice award.
And it seemed most of the 1,000 or so people were having a good time.
“This my favorite thing to do,” painter Joy Patterson of Port Royal, S.C., said.
She had been commissioned to do a mural during the concert by Fatback and the Groove Band out of Columbia, S.C., and The Eric Culberson Band out of Savannah.
“The music inspires me,” Patterson said as she bopped around the four-by-six foot canvas, pasting sheet music on.
She has a studio in Port Royal, but said her public work gets the most attention. She said she does about a dozen such performances each year.
People stopped by to watch her work. She didn’t stop even when it started to sprinkle.
Sara Ann Swida, head of Keep Liberty Beautiful who helped Davis organize the night, said Patterson’s work will be auctioned off at a later event.
Besides the downtown authority, the Hinesville Area Arts Council, Fort Stewart MWR and Liberty County Convention and Visitor Bureau sponsored the event.
BBQ winners were
Overall — J.C.’s BBQ, J.C. Barrett (Midway)
People’s Choice — Tina’s Deli (Midway)
Pork — J.C.’s Bar-B-Que (Midway) — BBQ ribs
Chicken — Smokin’ Pig (Richmond Hill)
Beef — Smokin’ Pig (Richmond Hill) — BBQ beef brisket
Miscellaneous — Vann’s Restaurant (Hinesville) — BBQ shrimp
Bobby Ryonm Hinesville city councilman
Sprinkel, Liberty County assistant administrator)
Cornelius Williams, Fort Stewart food service manager)
Thrift, owner Thrift Auto Repair
Tom Hickey, Hinesville Area Arts Council chairman