Blues, Brews and BBQ, affectionately dubbed B3, drew thousands of people to downtown Farmington on Friday and Saturday.
Event Organizer Paul Grandstaff estimated 2,000-3,000 people came Friday and double that number was expected on Saturday. He said Friday's crowd was the biggest they've ever had on the event's opening night.
"It has been wonderful," Grandstaff said. "This year we haven't had any problems. The crowds have been great. The vendors have been happy. It has just been a wonderful, wonderful event."
Grandstaff said the new additions this year, the Outer Edge Escape Room and Axe Throwing and the Autos 4 Autism Car Show, were well-received by the community.
"Talking with Phillip from Outer Edge, they exceeded their expectations for what they thought they were going to have and they are having a wonderful time," he said. "The car show has been great. The last I looked, there were people all the way to H Highway and that is exactly what we want."
Grandstaff said every year, they try to build on what worked and tinker with what did not, adding more every year to make it fun.
One noticeable addition to this year's event was a tribute featuring 13 chairs with 13 folded flags and the images of the 13 soldiers who lost their lives in Afghanistan last month.
Grandstaff credited the display to Laura McLean, saying it was her idea and she decided how and where it should happen.
The placement of the display had a deeper meaning to one vendor in particular.
Barley and Vine Drink Truck was at B3 and is owned by Mark and Jaclyn Schmitz. Mark and Jaclyn’s son, Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz of Wentzville, was one of the 13 soldiers.
"The gentleman in front and his parents, we think that is where their truck was last time," Grandstaff said, referring to the drink truck's placement at B3 last year. "It couldn't have turned out better."
The tribute was set up where the Schmitz’s truck was parked in 2019 for everyone to take a moment to pay their respects to the soldiers and their families. At one point Friday night someone purchased a round of drinks to be placed on each of the 13 chairs.
The sanctioned barbecue competition ended up with 17 teams. The steak competition brought 17 teams, as well. Grandstaff said most of them came just for Friday and were already off to the next competition by the end of the day.
The Grand Champion of the barbecue competition, winning $2,500, was "Coming in Hot."
The smell of barbecued meat drifted throughout the crowds and the brews were flowing, but neither upstaged all the music coming from the end of the street. Grandstaff said the music is his favorite part of the event.
"I just really enjoy sitting back and just taking in the whole experience with some good bands playing," Grandstaff said. "I just think it is kind of priceless."
He said organizers are already planning for next year. "We will have one post-festival meeting to go over everything we learned and what went good or bad," he said. "Then the next month we will start right back up. We love the location and we love the support from the community and all the businesses. Everyone just comes together and says let's do this."
Grandstaff said it takes a whole crew of people to make B3 happen.
"All the way from the biggest, with the city, to the smallest, with someone picking up a wrapper on the side of the street to help keep the area clean, it literally takes a large group of people," he said. "Then the support from the whole area, with people coming out, to be able to do this. It would be pretty boring to sit here by ourselves."
Grandstaff said anyone who would like to get involved and help out with planning the 2022 event can reach out on the Blues, Brews, and BBQ or the Discover Farmington Facebook Pages.
"We would love help," he said. "We will make sure you have a good time and have fun. Get some food, some shirts and listen to music, all kinds of fun stuff."
Grandstaff said he would like to thank all the volunteers, vendors, sponsors, competitors, and everyone who came out to the event.
The Blues, Brews, and BBQ 2021 sponsors include Ozark Charcoal, Krekeler Jewelers, Wade’s Auto Service, First State Community Bank, First State Financial Management, First State Insurance Agency, ServPro, Victorian Fireplace and Barbeque, Hammack Advisory Group, C.Z. Boyer & Son Funeral Home and Discover Farmington.
Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at email@example.com