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The Farmington Fall Festival “Blues, Brews and Barbecue" is ready for another round of fun and activities when it returns Sept. 20-21 to downtown Farmington.

The event is sponsored by Karsch Family Dental

According to local musician Casey Reeves, who is charge of lining up this year's musical entertainment, the event will once again offer a wide range of activities for the whole family, as well as many opportunities for the community to get involved.

Reeves explained how he got involved in helping to plan the popular Friday-Saturday mixture of great music, great beverages and awesome barbecue.

"There's a committee and last year I helped out a little bit with the music side of things because I've been a professional musician for a long time," he said. "As things progressed, last year I played the event and helped out a lot with the music. Then this year I joined the committee."

According to Reeves, the committee is made up of a number of community organizations and volunteers.

"There's members of Discover Farmington, as well as the Downtown Development Association, the city of Farmington and then myself and a few other volunteers that are just volunteering their time and working hard to put together a cool event," he said. "We had the theme of Blues, Brews and BBQ, but we've ampped it up this year.

"The person who breathed new life into this was Paul Grindstaff who is leading the barbecue side of things and he really liked that. So, he was the one who presented this and the team just formed naturally. Last year was the first test and it went great. We had over 10,000 people downtown. We just had a great response from the community that made a really unique event that we've never had in this town before.

Reeves said the committee learned from last year's failures, as well as its many successes.

"We really tried to step it forward and make it a bigger, better event for the community."

The 2019 B3 will feature 10 live bands — four on Friday and six on Saturday.

Friday's bands on the Parkland Health Center Stage: 5-6 p.m. Broke Neck; and 7-8:15 p.m. Ivas John Band. On the Karsch Family Dental Stage: 6-7 p.m. Torey Casey & the Southside Hustle; and 8:15-10 p.m. Bel Air

"Last year we had one stage," Reeves said. "This year we have two stages — both of them on Columbia Street, so the music will be constantly going. When one stage stops the other one will start. The music will go back and forth between the stages all day long."

Saturday's bands on the Karsch Family Dental Stage: Noon-1:15 p.m. Tungsten Groove; 2:45-4:15 p.m. John Henry; 5:45-7:15 p.m. Funky Butt Brass Band; and 8-10 p.m. Marquise Knox Band. On the Parkland Health Center Stage: 1:15-2:45 p.m. Nathan Bryce & Loaded Dice; and 4:15-5:45 p.m. Noah Earle Band.

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"We'll be taking up a lot of the courthouse square and the new pedestrian plaza," Reeves said. "That is going to be right in the center of it. Then, if you go back behind that — back to the stop sign on South Jefferson — that's where a lot of the barbecue competition is going to be."

Reeves is pleased that more than 40 barbecue teams have signed up to be part of this year's official St. Louis BBQ sanctioned contest.

"There's going to be an $8,000 prize purse and handmade trophies to first and second place overall," he said. "They all have their trailers and their smokers and those big setups, so that's going to expand all around where the old library was — south of Columbia over there."

Some, but not all, of the teams participating in the competition include: Bushwood Smokers, Baby Boy BBQ, Two Bubs & A Rub, M&K BBQ, Hog Brown BBQ, Heavy Smoke, Triple H BBQ, A and W BBQ, Mulkey's BBQ, In The Red Zone BBQ, Heartland Que', Fire and Smoke BBQ, Shot In The Dark, Two Butts & A Ham, Big Boots BBQ, That Guys BBQ, Sweet Meat BBQ, Don's Sweet Meat, Go Away, Bastin', Slow Magic, Squealin' Swine BBQ Boy's and Two Kracker's Kookin’.

Reeves stressed that the BB&B has no entrance fee, however, there will be crafts and food vendors at the event. Adult beverages will also be available for purchase at the event.

"There are craft breweries — drinks and stuff that you can buy from vendors at the event. If you do want to drink, it's $5 for a wristband. That's part of checking your ID and for security. A dollar of that charge will be donated to Help the Hungry. So, part of the $5 fee is going towards that and part of it is going to rollover into next year's festival, so we can make it bigger and better for the community.

"We're also going to have various food trucks and food booths — some local and some coming from St. Louis and Cape Girardeau. So, there will be a great selection of food — not just barbecue. We'll have everything from tacos to frozen drinks and all kinds of fried food."

Reeves said he didn't want to forget some of the other special events happening at this year's BB&B.

"One is that we have cultivated a neat thing with the arts and crafts. We've set a standard where the items have to be local and handmade. It's going to be neat stuff that is made locally, so I think that's cool and will make for a more eclectic event.

"In the US Bank parking lot there is going to be a kid's area on Saturday. We'll have a lot of  fun activities for the kids. We will also have demonstrations from Hawthorne Forge which won that show 'Forged by Fire' on the History Channel. They're going to come out on Saturday and do a blacksmith demonstration.

"The Wood Den chainsaw woodcarvers out of Festus will also be out there on Saturday. They were here last year, as well. So, there will be cool demonstrations. There's going to be cooking demonstrations as far as barbecue and some cool cast iron cooking demonstrations.

"I'm also personally excited and proud of our music workshop that's going to be held Saturday inside Music Makers, also on Columbia Street, where some of the musicians performing at the event are putting on classes. That will be free and open to the public. I'm definitely encouraging young music students to come out and meet these professional musicians who have made it and are ready to share their passion for music."

For additional information about B3, go to https://farmingtonfallfest.com.

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Kevin R. Jenkins is the managing editor of the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-756-8927 or kjenkins@farmingtonpressonline.com

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