Along the Tennessee River in Decatur, the aroma of barbeque fills the air the in September. Celebrating its 20th year in 2014, Riverfest brings together pitmasters from across the country who smoke it out as festivalgoers enjoy live music, friendly barbeque competition, and fun and games. Headliners for this year’s event set for September 19-20, 2014, are country music star Craig Campbell and Southern rock band Blackberry Smoke.
Hosted by the Decatur Jaycees, Riverfest is recognized by the State of Alabama as an official State Barbeque Championship competition and is sanctioned by, and conducted under, the rules of the Kansas City Barbeque Society. Competing for prize money and trophies totaling $20,000, the BBQ cook-off is open to professional and amateur teams, and children between the ages of 8 and 18 years old are invited to test their ribeye steak barbequing skills in the Kids Q.
Live music fires up Friday evening. Headliner Craig Campbell (www.craigcampbell.tv) is scheduled to take the stage at 9:30 p.m. Nominated for two American Country Awards, Campbell reached the top of the country music charts with several of his songs, including “Outta My Head,” “Family Man,” and “Keep Them Kisses Comin.” The music continues Saturday afternoon and includes performances by The Wheelers (www.reverbnation.com/thewheelersband), Drake White (www.drakewhite.com) and rising stars Blackberry Smoke (www.blackberrysmoke.com). Playing up to 250 dates each year, this Southern Rock quintet band has toured with the Marshall Tucker Band, ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynryd and George Jones. The band was asked to play for Jones on his 80th birthday, not long after the country legend turned in a guest appearance on the band’s sophomore album.
Along with the BBQ cook-off and music, there are food vendors offering barbeque and other traditional festival food and a free children's area. Weekend passes are $30 per person and includes admission for both days. Weekend passes must be purchased in advance at www.decaturjaycees.com, Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce or Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau. One-day tickets at the gate are $20 per person. Children younger than 10 years old are admitted for free.
Festivalgoers who want to avoid the long lines and enjoy discounted beer, free food, front row seating and other VIP benefits can also purchase a VIP Area/Sports Zone ticket for an additional $35 per night or $50 for the weekend. For more information, visit http://www.decaturjaycees.com/riverfest-2012/vip-area-sports-zone.
Riverfest is a community event that helps raise funds for various charities in Decatur and surrounding area. Over the past three years, the event has been able to give over $60,000 to local charities. For more information on the 20th annual Riverfest, visit www.decaturjaycees.com.