The smell of barbecue ribs and other meats will drift throughout the downtown area starting Friday.
The Taste of Downtown Danville kicks off at 10 a.m. Friday and runs through 5 p.m. Sunday.
Dana Schaumburg, Downtown Danville Inc. executive director, said the event is a taste of everything downtown has to offer including the arts, food, music and drinks.
There will be arts and crafts vendors, beer and wine tastings, live music including The Little German Band, children’s activities including face painting, and the 7th annual Vermilion County Crimestoppers car show and movie night.
The car show begins at 5 p.m. Saturday, with the movie “Smokey and the Bandit” at 7 p.m. at Kresge Park, adjacent to the Vermilion County Courthouse Annex.
The kids kloset, 35 N. Vermilion St., will offer fun activities for children on Sunday, Sept. 30 during the festival at nearby Baum Courtyard.
From noon to 3:30 p.m., the business will host a Sidewalk Art Contest with prizes by age group. A prize ceremony will be at 3:45 p.m. Story telling times will be at 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Other free fun events offered by the kids kloset include Pretty Piggy Painting toe nail painting at 1 p.m., Ice Cream Pig-Out no utensil and no hands ice cream eating contest at 2 p.m. and Musical Pig and other games at 3 p.m.
Also part of the event is a BBQ Competition sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society.
Jasen Adam, a Medix and Georgetown ambulance employee, suggested the barbeque competition as a tourism event to bring people downtown.
Adam knows a thing or two about competitions and barbeque sauce.
“I’ve been competing …,” Adam said.
His team, 82’s BBQ Crew, consists of Adam, his wife Leslie and their children, Alexes, 15, and Kobi, 12.
The “82” in the team name is Adam’s employee number for Medix Ambulance.
While working as a paramedic, he had to label his food that he put in the workplace refrigerator. He labeled his barbeque sauce bottle “82’s BBQ” and it stuck.
Adam said traveling to the competitions, such as one near St. Louis in Steeleville, is “a family time for bonding.”
They’ve competed against nationally-ranked teams. At their first competition, the Adams placed 10th in ribs. They’ve also placed third in chicken at a competition. Adam said they are constantly improving.
“We started cooking for ourselves and developed our own recipe for barbeque sauce,” Adam said.
They also turned it into a business, selling the “82’s BBQ Sauce” at 24 stores including County Market in Towne Center, Big R and Rawhide Meat Co.
There will be at least 16 teams at the Taste of Downtown Danville BBQ Competition.
Adam said they officially have enough teams registered to make the barbeque competition a qualifier for the “Jack Daniel’s Invitational” and “The American Royal Invitational.”
Three teams are from Danville, one from Catlin, one from Crawfordsville, Ind., and others from Springfield, Naperville, Brimfield, Darien, Peoria, River Forest and Millstadt.
Adam said the level of the competition coming to the area is impressive.
He said five of 16 teams were top 100 overall teams last year. Two teams are in the Top 25 of the Kansas City Barbeque Society competitions. Two teams are top 25 chicken cooks. Two teams are top 25 rib cooks. One team is top 25 pork cook. Also, four teams are top 25 brisket cooks, of which the No. 2 and No. 3 brisket cooks are coming.
Teams will start setting up Thursday night and Friday in the middle of the unit block of North Vermilion Street.
Teams can be any size, such as consisting of a one-man crew or six or seven best friends, Adam said.
They can have a pop-up tent and small grills or a huge, elaborate set-up with smokers.
“It varies so much …,” Adam said.
There will be meat inspections for the competition and then the teams will start prepping their food. A lot of teams prep and rub the food and let it marinate and sit for hours before cooking, he said.
The meat will cook overnight Friday and throughout the morning on Saturday.
There are four categories of meat to be cooked and presented for judging for the standard barbeque competition: chicken, pork ribs, pork itself — such as pork butt — and brisket.
Turn-ins for the meat to the judges will start at noon on Saturday.
Adam said they will start with chicken. Then at 12:30 p.m. will be the ribs. At 1 p.m. will be the pork and then at 1:30 p.m. the brisket.
Two KCBS representatives will oversee the competition, and local judges already have been certified. There were judging classes.
“I believe we have more than enough,” Adam said of judges, but people also could be pulled from the crowd and certified too.
Areas will be cleaned up and then the awards announcements are expected at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Prizes totaling $5,500 will be given out to teams. The grand champion prize is $1,000 for overall of the four meat categories. The reserve grand champion prize is $500. Other categories: first, $300; second, $250; third, $200; fourth, $150; and fifth, $100.
Teams will not sell barbeque to the public, but there will be food vendors downtown as well as downtown restaurants where people can purchase food including barbeque.
The public can get involved through the People’s Choice category.
People can pay a small fee to get a taste and sample of the barbeque entries cooked by the teams who choose to participate in this voluntary category, and then vote for their favorite pork butt. It will be first come, first served until they run out. This will start about noon on Saturday.
Registrations still are being taken for barbeque teams to compete. The limit is 30 teams. The entry fee is $250. Register online at http://www.compbbq.com.
“It is a blast,” Adam said about the competitions.
He said once this area sees this event, they will look forward to the event returning next year.
Schaumburg said the idea to have a Taste of Downtown Danville came from bands performing on a stage at the Illinois State Fair.
She said she was thinking about something else to expand on the popular Summer Sounds concerts, with more live music, food and other activities.
“We still need volunteers for the event,” Schaumburg added.
To volunteer, contact Schaumburg at the DDI office, 149 N. Vermilion St., or 443-3886.