I am ready.
I’ve heard eight months’ worth of murmurs, eight months’ worth of promises that this will be the best weekend of my reporting year. Everyone, from police officers to commissioners, barbecue teams to indigenous artists have told me to prepare.
And it is finally here.
The 17th annual Barbecue on the River festival starts tonight. Three full days of barbecue creations, complete with a festival atmosphere and more barbecue than I can even fathom. And, ladies and gentlemen, I am here to say one thing: Bring it on.
Bring on the strange couplings, fried everythings, and food on a stick. Let me have some of that fried Kool-Aid. I want to be so full on Saturday evening that I don’t want to look another pig in the face until after the holidays.
Reporting on it has made it so much worse. I hear each team describe its specialty, then explain how the teams slowly smoke their pork butts and shoulders. My mouth watered with every sentence.
There has been talk of pork on a stick, slow-roasted barbecue corn on the cob, and deliciously dripping barbecue nachos. The Smoke Shack, a team out of Ohio, is even bringing in its pork sundae — beans, coleslaw and pork smothered in barbecue sauce.
I have never been more ready in my entire life. I want to see giant pigs dressed to the max then sampled by the bold judging panel. I want my first Memphis-style half rack of ribs. I can’t wait to taste the chili served at the Happy’s Chili table.
Since I moved to Paducah, nothing has gotten as much play at the Barbecue on the River festival. People here put their lives on hold to create a winning product here. They are proud of their barbecue, and I am proud to be eating it.
Contact Corianne Egan, a Paducah Sun staff writer at 270-575-8652.