The Fifth Annual Brenau Barbecue Championship opens at 10 a.m. Saturday to the smell of wood smoke and barbecue, sounds of local musicians including Gainesville’s Back in Time and other attractions like a classic car show, a supervised kids’ play area and other things to appeal to all your senses.
But if you are one of those who has that sixth sense, digital, you will have a channeled opportunity to share your experiences with the world as Brenau launches an online digital community for visitors, contestants, volunteers and anyone else at the event to share photos and observations with the world.
The festival kicks off Friday, May 24 at 6 p.m. with a preview party featuring the North Hall High School Jazz Band and the Allen Nivens Band opening up for “local legends” Riverstreet while the cook teams fire up their smokers for Saturday’s contest.
On both Friday and Saturday, however, everyone will be encouraged to share photos and videos of the smoky goodness being prepared all around them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #brenaubbq.
This is the first year the university has put a serious push into forming an online community around the barbecue championship events, which usually attract hundreds of visitors. The big attraction, however, will be the 37 cook teams from five states competing for Memphis Barbecue Network and Georgia Barbecue Association honors and rights to participate in the World Food Championships in Las Vegas in the fall. The cook teams and other activities will give shutterbugs, cinematographers and “tweeters” plenty of material with which to work.
With QR codes on posters around town, Twitter and Facebook profiles, staffers contributing to feeds and encouraging patrons to document their time at the barbecue, the Brenau Barbecue Championship crew has gone “whole hog” with this online-visual community.
“It just makes sense,” said David Morrison, vice president for communications and publications at Brenau. “We’ve got people on staff that are into social media, patrons that will all be taking photos and videos at the festival, so why not ramp up this online community. As for getting the BBQ sauce-colored fingerprints off the screens of your iPhones, you’re on your own.”
The event even has a ‘live stream’ of sorts with photos of the event being uploaded in real time to the festivals webpage, brenaubbq.org.
The Brenau Barbecue Championship can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/brenaubbq, on Twitter at twitter.com/brenaubbq, on Instagram with the handle Brenauuniversity and online at brenaubbq.org. The official tag for the Brenau Barbecue Championship photo-stream is #brenaubbq.