The 6th Annual Smoke on the Water (SOTW) BBQ Cook-Off and Music Festival is Friday and Saturday at Bickley’s Lake in Thomaston. Friends are invited to enjoy their fill of the Southeast’s best barbecue and live entertainment, while at the same time helping local emergency services. A portion of the proceeds from SOTW will go to the six volunteer fire departments in Upson County.
Taking place amid beautiful scenery and great music, SOTW is the perfect family outing and organizers say an expanded Kidz Zone will provide even greater fun for all ages. The Kidz Zone features inflatables, pig chases, and train and pony rides.
“Our goal was to make this an event for everyone, and I believe we’ve succeeded in doing that,” said event co-founder Bobby Bickley. “During the day, we encourage families to come out and eat and let their kids play in the Kidz Zone, and at night, we have great music, too.”
As always, food remains the star attraction. Smoke on the Water is a Florida Barbecue Association (FBA) sanctioned event, a Jack Daniel qualifier, and a qualifier for the World Barbecue Championship. Teams in the barbecue competition compete in the categories of chicken, ribs, pork and pork brisket, and have the potential to win trophies and cash prizesTeams have the potential to win trophies and cash prizes from a pot of more than $12,000. Teams can also sell their products, ensuring that SOTW will have barbecue to please even the pickiest eater.
The barbecue competition will have trained judges making the final decisions on most categories, but every visitor to SOTW can have a say in at least one category, the ever popular People’s Choice Award, sponsored by the Thomaston Rotary Club.
There will also be a variety of other vendors at SOTW, which this year is featuring a raffle for a gun signed by Willie of Duck Dynasty or Bill Jordan from Realtree. Purchase of a $20 raffle ticket will give you a chance to win an X-Bolt Medallion .308 or an 1187 Semi-Auto 12ga Shotgun.
And while you may come for the barbecue, you’ll want stay for the music, which begins Friday night with Sonia Leigh, followed by Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit. Saturday the music continues all day and night, with local favorites Soul Kitchen, Due South, Scott Little Band, Ben Ratliff and Friends, Saint Francis, Brent Cobb, and the Tyler Hammond Band performing. The music festival wraps up Saturday night with Thomaston’s own Coy Bowles of the Zac Brown Band performing with his band, Coy Bowles and The Foundation, and Connor Christian and Southern Gothic ending the festival on a solid note.
Weekend passes are $25 and includes admission to both days of the festival. Tickets for Friday only are $20 and tickets for Saturday only are $10. Children under 10 are admitted free. Coolers, blankets and lawn chairs are welcome. Gates will be open from 4-11 p.m. on Friday and from 10 a.m. until 11 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are available online at www.sotwfestival.com.