Red White and Blue BBQ Blowout ready to blast off

Jul 3 | Posted by: Bombplates

It appears all is ready for Fin to Fur's third annual Red White and Blue BBQ Blowout, which is set to hit Thayer over the Independence Day weekend, July 4 and 5. Concerts by country music legends Aaron Tippin and John Anderson headline the fun filled weekend that also includes barbeque contests, singing competitions and many other events for people of all ages.

The biggest change from last year's very festival is a big drop in admission price. Last year, armbands at varying levels were sold for $25 and up, depending on what visitors wanted to see and do. This year, general admission is $5. The new admission price arose out of the desire to make the festival more affordable for families, seeing that it was a struggle for many people to bring their entire family. The organizers are hoping that families will be able to enjoy both days at the lowered cost.

Also new this year, a "People's Choice" barbecue cookoff competition will be held for area residents, joining the "pros" who will set up for the Kansas City Barbecue Society cookoff. A tent will be set up for barbeque tasting, allowing people the opportunity get samples for a small fee.

On Saturday morning, July 5, there will be a 5k race and 1 mile kids run starting at the festival grounds. People can preregister or register that day of the evet, beginning at 6:30 a.m. All proceeds from this part of the festival will be given to the athletic departments of the local school districts (Alton, Couch, Koshkonong, Mammoth Spring and Thayer), for athletes who need help purchasing shoes and other equipment. All ages are welcome to participate in the run. The cost is $15 for the 5k and $10 for the 1 mile kids run.

Tippin and Anderson won't be the only musical entertainment provided at the festival. A local singing competition will highlight bands and individuals participating in The Voice of the Ozarks talent contest. Competition starts Friday at 11 a.m and the finals will be held on Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. People interested in competing can register on Friday before the start time, and need to bring their own music and device to hook into the sound system. Organizers ask that that competitors bring two songs (one for each day) and that they be family appropriate. A $500 prize will be awarded to the winner as decided by the judging panel.

Bands that will be playing throughout the festival include Stone Wall Station, Chris Johnson and the Back Row Revival, the John Lindsey Band, Mojo Kings and Katelynn Dill. Opening for Aaron Tippin of Friday will be Mammoth Spring native Matthew Huff who currently tours the country and has won several new talent awards. On Saturday, The River Girls will open for John Anderson. Anderson and Aaron Tippin have agreed to meet and greet fans before their performances.

Interspersed throughout the two day event are different workshops, giveaways and other entertainment to keep visitors busy. New to this year's festival will be a Pro's vs. Joe's casting contest featuring Jimmy Houston and "Mr. Crappie" Wally Marshall. There is also a Bow shooting demonstration with Alex Rutledge from the TV show Bloodline. There are also NRA workshops on handgun safety, dance demonstrations and clinics as well as booths from local vendors and volunteer organizations from the area to provide information and sell their wares, alongside the many food and beverage vendors available.

The Independence Day fireworks show, sponsored by the Thayer Chamber of Commerce, will begin after the Aaron Tippin concert on Friday night. All fireworks and support are from donations made by Chamber members and surrounding businesses. People who do not want to attend the festival will still be able to see the fireworks from several vantage points throughout the area.

From a security standpoint, the festival will be well covered by local law enforcement and by private security hired by festival organizers. There will be officers from the Thayer Police Department, Oregon County Sheriff's Office and the Missouri State Highway Patrol on hand to help with traffic and crowd control, as estimates of attendance has been placed between 8,000 and 10,000 people. Chief Daryl Childers asks that people be patient with the traffic situation, especially on Friday evening after the fireworks show. He stated that Holmes Road (the main entryway to the fairgrounds) will be an exit only to help with traffic flow after the fireworks show. Citizens are asked not to park along Highway 63 to watch the fireworks, as there are several areas off the main road for people to park and watch the show without causing traffic hazards.

Visitors to the festival are asked to bring their own seating for the concerts. Free parking is also available, a change from last year when parking was provided for a fee. For schedule information, registration for any of the events and any other information, please visit the official website of the festival at .
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