A total of 50 teams will be competing for top barbecue honors later this month.

The cook-off is part of the second annual Main Street BBQ and Bluesfest to be held April 16-17 in the historic downtown district.

Sponsored by Downtown Washington Inc., the event will feature four blues bands along with a sanctioned barbecue contest and tasting.

Some chicken, pork and corn in the barbeque
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The general festival hours will be Friday, April 16, from 5 to 10 p.m., and Saturday, April 17, noon to 8 p.m.

The barbecue teams will be set up on the Main and Cedar parking lot.

“Fifty teams is our maximum,” said Aimee Frey, event coordinator. “Last year we had 29 teams, but we expect the numbers to be much higher now that people know about us.

“We are really excited about the response,” she added. “The applications came flooding in this time around and I think that’s due to good word of mouth advertising from the teams who participated last year, as well as the Kansas City Barbecue Society.”

Frey said six of the teams are local, which always adds to the excitement.

The barbecue competitors will check in on Friday, cook all day and night, with judging on Saturday.

This event is officially recognized by the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) and certified judges will select the winners.

Although the barbecue prepared for the competition won’t be available to the public, a People’s Choice Tasting will be held Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. where visitors can sample pulled pork samples from each team.

“The pork will be prepared by the teams after they turn in their competition meat,” said Frey. “The tasting is $7 and people can then vote for their favorite team.”

The pork is being donated by Williams Brothers of Washington.

All of the winners, both in the sanctioned contest and People’s Choice, will be announced beginning at 4:45 p.m. Saturday. Cash prizes will be awarded.

In addition to the cook-off, the festival will feature live blues music each day.

Performing on Friday night will be Brian Curran from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. followed by the BagLunch Blues Band from 7 to 10 p.m.

On Saturday, Alvin Jett and the Phat Noiz Blues Band will play from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m, followed by the Big Budget Blues Band from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

The bands and food court will be set up on the Main and Elm parking lot. There is no cost for the music.

A new event on Saturday will be a cooking competition for kids. There will be two age categories: 7-9 years of age and 10-13. The kids will cook hamburgers and brats under adult supervision.

Frey said about eight youth have already registered. “We don’t have a cut off to sign up. We hope to get at least 15.”

Complete rules and entry forms for the kids competition can be found online at Downtown Washington Inc.’s Web site or at the group’s office.

Another event planned is a hot dog eating contest on Friday at 6:30 p.m. There is no cost to enter and people may sign up just prior to the event. This event is being sponsored by B&B Barbecue of Washington.

Contestants will have seven minutes to eat as many hot dogs as they can. The winner will receive an event T-shirt and a free entry into the People’s Choice tasting.

In addition to the music and barbecue, a large food court will be set up on the Main and Elm parking lot.

Frey said the event will be held rain or shine. She said about 12,000 people turned out over the two days last year.