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BBQ Festival aids dropout prevention work
Fourth-annual event set for March 10 in Monroe
Get a Taste
Barbecue will be served up from local restaurants and caterers Saturday, March 10, 2018, at the fourth-annual Walton EMC Walton County BBQ Festival in Monroe. The event is a fundraiser for Communities In Schools of Walton County. - photo by Deborah Stewart

MONROE, Ga. — The Walton EMC Walton County BBQ Festival will return to Criswell Park in Monroe on Saturday, March 10.

The event is the annual fundraiser for Communities In Schools of Walton County, a nonprofit dropout prevention program that works in partnership with local public schools. 

The event is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission and parking are free. 

Five area restaurants and caterers will have barbecue plates for sale. Sampling tickets for three bite-sized samples will be sold for $3 and the public will vote to choose the area's best barbecue in the Walton Tribune People’s Choice Contest. 

“We are excited about our new format, which has more of a local focus,” Angela Yarman, executive director of Communities In Schools of Walton County, said. “We think the public will enjoy visiting their friends, neighbors and local businesses in the amateur cook-off, and voting for their favorite local barbecue restaurant in the People’s Choice Contest.”

Local businesses, churches, civic clubs and other groups will compete in an amateur backyard barbecue contest in rib, chicken and pulled pork categories. Winners will be named in first, second and third places in each category.

Food court vendors will offer a variety of festival treats including fresh-squeezed lemonade, kettle corn, roasted peanuts, Cuban sandwiches, roasted corn and more. 

More than 40 craft and merchandise vendors will offer a wide variety of items including jewelry, candles, soaps, bird houses, bee traps, home decor clothing and boutique items.  

Tickets will be sold for attractions in the children's area including supersized inflatables, a spider jump and a zip line. 

A full-day lineup of entertainment is planned including local favorite Funky Bluester, along with The Common Ground Band, Charlotte’s School of Dance, Kim’s Tae Kwon Do, The Carter Hill Baptist Men’s Choir and Grove Britannia.

The event is sponsored by Walton EMC, Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas, The Walton Tribune, Meadows Funeral Home, Leadfoot Diesel Performance, Clearview Regional Medical Center, Peach State Federal Credit Union and many others. 

“We are grateful for the support of our sponsors,” Jean Gallman, chairman of the CIS board of directors, said. “Walton EMC is back for the third year as our title sponsor, and we have so many great businesses supporting this event. It helps fund the important drop-out prevention work that CIS provides all year long.”

More information is available at and on Facebook @waltonbbq. A complete guide listing all sponsors, vendors, competitors in the cook-off and the complete entertainment schedule will be featured in The Walton Tribune and at the paper’s website,

Communities In Schools of Walton County provides programs to more than 8,500 students in nine schools in the Walton County School District and Social Circle City Schools. More than 300 at-risk students receive one-on-one support to help them overcome their personal circumstances so they can stay in school, graduate and prepare for successful adulthood.

For more information on the work CIS does in the community, visit