Niagara Gazette —
Good barbecue can be a great tourism draw, Gregory said. That’s what he’s counting on with the festival.
“It’s great for the commerce in the city,” he said. “People, on the way home, they say, ‘Oh, there’s that place we heard of.’ And they come back the next weekend.”
The three-day festival features live music, a people’s choice award and an improv cook-off wherein cooks will have to make the best dish possible with a batch of ingredients they’re provided. The festival will also feature what Gregory calls perhaps the last available firemen’s chowder in Western New York and dessert competitions. proceeds will benefit the Variety Club Telethon.
All the while, Gregory hopes to strike just the right balance of big-time barbecue flavor and small-town home cooking. His efforts have grown to the point where Smokin Eagles is now teaching courses at Niagara University on the barbecue basics, and private classes are also available.
Not bad for a region whose barbecue IQ was once at a Forrest Gumpian level.
“When we started, barbecue was known as chicken with sauce around here,” he said. “Now we have more barbecue teams here than in the eastern half of the state.”
With the expected turnout, Gregory said additional festival volunteers are needed. Call 695-3755 for more information.
Contact Paul Lane at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IF YOU GO WHAT: Sixth annual Smokin Eagles International BBQ Festival WHEN: Friday through Aug. 11 WHERE: Gateway Harbor, North Tonawanda MORE INFORMATION: Call 695-3755 or visit sebbq.com