Osage City will be filled with smoke, people, and a barbeque aroma this weekend.
Competitive BBQ teams and bunch of activities will be involved in the 16th annual Smoke in the Spring State Barbeque Championship, Friday and Saturday.
“At Jones Park, there’ll be a full slate of activities for everybody,” Corey Linton, director of the Osage City Parks & Recreation, barbecue championship sponsor, said “But good eating of the most distinctive smelling gourmet will be the highlight for most. Over the past 15 years, Smoke in the Spring has expanded into one of the Midwest’s premier barbecue contests. There’ll be teams and judges from 20 states as far away as Hawaii.”
Sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS), Smoke in the Spring is designated the state championship. More than $25,000 will be awarded in prize money.
Osage City’s annual barbecue celebration promises to continue being the premier contest in Kansas. With 105 teams signed up to compete, it’s three years in a row with more than 100 entries.
“We are affectionately known now as the Little Royal,” Linton said.
Smoke in the Spring got its start in 2003, and has gradually gained competitors every year since then.
“It’s an entire Osage City community event that all from far beyond can support and embrace,” Linton said. “Our goal is to annually offer participants, judges, sponsors and the public the very best barbecue competition possible”.
In addition to selection of grand and reserve grand champions, and the brisket winner, there’ll be several more awards. Top entries will also be recognized in chicken, ribs, and pork butt divisions. Then winners are to be selected in Cook’s Choice, Dessert, and two Kids-Q categories, as well.
While barbecue is featured, the Taste of Osage City offers the chance for others to taste what’s cooking.
“Everybody is invited to this Friday evening’s sampling barbecued meats from Smoke in the Spring, at 5 p.m.,” Linton said.
Activites begin at 4 p.m. with an inflatable bounce house opening for kids up to 14. Chance Encounter from Topeka will entertain with ’80s and ’90s party rock and guitar chaos at 8 p.m. and a fireworks show, at 9 p.m.
“There’s no charge for the music, dancing, bouncing, or booming,” Linton said.
Last year, 46 of the 100 teams at Osage City went on to win grand, reserve or class championships.
“We not only have a large group of teams, but the quality of teams is outstanding,” Linton said.
During the barbecue, celebration continues in downtown Osage City with the Cruis’n and Cook’n Car Show.
In the past, there’ve been more than 300 antique and classic cars, trucks, vans, street rods, rat rods, and motorcycles.
“The show is free for spectators who are invited to enjoy the day in Osage City,” Linton said.