CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Charleston barbecue lovers can rejoice on Saturday at the “Charley West BBQ Fest” hosted by the Bob Burdette Center (BBC) after-school program.

From 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Haddad Riverfront Park, event attendees can enjoy savory foods, cold brews, local music and a barbecue competition. Barbecue vendors will be on-site cooking up pulled pork, ribs and more.

The public can buy food from commercial vendors and participate in judging the barbecue competition by purchasing 10 tasting tickets for $10. The competition will have three divisions — Commercial Division, Competition Division and Backyard Division.

Commercial vendors selling food and competing will include Carnivore BBQ, Gil’s Pit Beef, Ichiban Pan-Asian Restaurant and more.

The Competition Division will include people who have participated before in a barbecue competition or worked in the industry in some capacity. The Backyard Division is for anyone who enjoys making barbecue at home but has not done it competitively or professionally.

Winners chosen by the public will be named “People’s Choice — Best BBQ.” In addition, a panel of judges will do a blind taste test for all three divisions.

Commercial vendors will submit a pulled pork sample with sauce to the judge’s panel, and the winner will be named “Best BBQ in Charleston at the ‘Charley West BBQ Fest.'”

Competition and backyard entrants will compete in four categories — “Best Pulled Pork BBQ,” “Best Ribs,” “Best Sauce” and “Wild Card.” First place in each division and category wins a “‘Charley West BBQ Fest’ Champion” trophy.

The festival is usually held annually, but organizers have not been able to host the event for two years due to COVID-19. Event leaders are looking forward to having the festival up and running again for the Charleston community.

“After being out the last two years, this is a great way for the community to help decide the ‘People’s Choice’ for the best barbecue in the area,” said Shirley Layne, who is on the Board of Directors for the BBC.

Festival leaders also said the event is a way to give back to the community and vice versa. Funds from food and ticket purchases will benefit the BBC, which offers free after-school and summer programs to children on Charleston’s West Side and in North Charleston.

“The ‘Charley West BBQ Fest’ is important to the Bob Burdette Center because it’s a crucial part of keeping programs going, and we want to grow to help more families,” said Brittany Dempsey, BBC Site Coordinator and veteran BBQ Fest attendee. “It’s really important for our community to support each other and come together for a safe and fun event. And it gets new people into Charleston, too.”

There is no entrance fee for the event. Attendees can find parking at meters on nearby streets or the City of Charleston parking garage between Virginia Street and Kanawha Boulevard, with access from Laidley Street. There is also nearby paid parking in both garages for the Charleston Town Center Mall.

For more information on this event, contact Sarah Buckalew, BBC Executive Director, at (304) 741-6160 or her email.

(Photo courtesy of the Bob Burdette Center)