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Cookout to expand in third year
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The third annual Smokin’ in McMinnville is growing and changing.
Vendors of all types are being sought, one category is going charity, and more samples will be available.
Presented by the city of McMinnville and sponsored by the McMinnville-Warren County Chamber of Commerce, the three-day family festival is scheduled Aug. 11-13. Featured will be live entertainment, food and beverages, sports competitions, a children’s play zone, assorted vendors, and access to Gilley Pool.
Also, 40 professional Kansas City Barbeque Society teams, along with backyard grill masters, will be vying for $15,000 in total prize money in this Tennessee State Championship competition.
New this year will be a change in the local competition called “Best of the Butts” that will take place Aug. 11. It will now be a charity fundraiser with more food offered to those wanting to help select the winner.
“We offered sampling to the public last year,” said McMinnville Police Chief Charlie Sewell. “We did hear a complaint there wasn’t enough food. I don’t think we will hear that this year.”
Among Best of the Butts guidelines:
• Up to 15 local teams will compete at McMinnville Civic Center to see which team smokes the most popular Boston Butt in Warren County.
Teams will pay $100 to compete and the team with the most popular votes will win $1,000 for its favorite charity. The second-place team will win $500 for its favorite charity. 
• The public can purchase an arm band and a vote ticket for $5 and sample the meat from each team, plus receive a generous portion of sides.
“Even the hungriest of appetites should get satisfied at this event,” said Sewell.
On Friday, there will be continuous evening entertainment. Professional teams – with millions of dollars in special cooking equipment – backyard grillers, and numerous vendors will arrive at the Civic Center to turn the area into a mini-city.
Many of the teams enjoy showing off their equipment and talking about their trophies. The vendors will be selling everything from shaved ice and hot dogs to grilled chicken and baby back ribs.
A trio of bands will play continuous music from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Freedom Within will open the evening show, followed by a new sensation called Thunder Creek. Joe Harvey Band will round out the night’s entertainment.
The Kansas City Barbecue Society Competition will be held Saturday. Teams from Oklahoma to North Carolina, 40 in all, will compete for top prize money. Professional teams bring and prepare meat samples for the judges only, but vendors will be on hand to provide all types of treats to the public.  
Bring your swimsuit and escape the heat with a trip to Gilley Pool. The pool will be open until 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday night. Cost is $4 per person.
Three days of fun, food and competition takes one year to organize.
“We started working on this year’s event the week after Smokin’ in McMinnville 2010, and we have not stopped,” said Sewell. “This year’s festival will be bigger and better, and there will be something to interest everyone. This will be an extravaganza you will not want to miss.”
Anyone interested in becoming a vendor can call the police department at 473-3808 or the chamber at 473-6611.