The Seventh Annual BBQ and Bands Festival Is Takin’ It to the Streets

Rolesville Hot Pick'n Finger Lick'n BBQ & BandsThe cook teams are fired up and ready to compete.

The bands are booked and ready to rock.

The  vendors are committed and ready to set up.

The myriad inflatables and children’s games are set to be enjoyed.

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And the greater Rolesville area is ready for mouthwatering barbecue when the Seventh Annual Hot Pick’n Finger Lick’n BBQ and Bands festival takes place on Saturday, September 17, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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“We’re expecting to have our best year ever,” said Rolesville Chamber of Commerce Executive Director April Sneed, because the family-friendly event sponsored by the Chamber is expected to increase in traffic with a projected number of nearly 3,000 attendees.

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To facilitate the crowd, the event has moved from the Rolesville ballpark to the street. Rogers Road from South Main Street to Granite Rock Way, where the post office is located, will be closed to traffic. See the accompanying map for details.

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“We moved the festival to the street so that it would have greater visibility,” Sneed said. “It won’t impact the homeowners who live near the ballfields by restricting the access to and from their homes, and it puts the festival in the heart of Rolesville’s commercial district.”

BBQ map

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Chamber Chairman Sherwood Bobbitt added, “Our best events have been when we were located just off Main Street. We moved to the lot behind the ballfields, where it has been held for the past three years. Due to the space limitations on the corner across from Hardee’s, we simply outgrew the space with cook teams, vendors, bands and the crowd attending.”

Fierce and juicy competition

In past years, the competition has been fierce among champions striving to maintain their status. Judging begins with the Whole Hog competition at 9 a.m., a full two hours before the event officially gets under way.

Judges for the Whole Hog competition are members of the N.C. Pork Council, and the winner of the category will qualify to move on to the statewide competition held in Raleigh September 30 and October 1.

Ribs will be judged at 10 a.m. and chicken at 11 a.m. so that all judging is completed before the event opens. This year’s ribs and chicken judges are Rolesville Mayor Frank Eagles, local business owner Robert Pettyjohn, WRAL-TV news anchor and reporter Ken Smith, Charlotte Knights first baseman Jerry Sands and the Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series Winner, Chef Franz Propst of Peak City Grill and Blistered Pig Smokehouse of Apex. In the eclectic lineup, each judge will bring his own special flavor and flair to the competition.

Bring your appetite

Plenty of great food awaits attendees. Barbecue plates will be available at affordable prices, so bring the family and make it a day and a meal. One-meat barbecue plates go for $10, and two-meat plates go for $12. Each plate includes green beans, potato salad, slaw, roll and drink. Also available will be a two-hot dog plate with chips and a drink for $5. Tickets for the plates can be purchased at the food tent on the day of the festival.

To eliminate the step of purchasing food at the tent, festivalgoers may purchase tickets for meat plates at a $1-per-plate discount until the event opens. To pre-purchase, contact the Chamber at (919) 562-7069. Those tickets can be picked up at the Chamber tent during the event.

Other amenities and delights of the day

White Street Brewing Co. of Wake Forest will have two on-site trucks. (See separate article.) The popular Swine & Dine Café will be open again, this year with two tents to accommodate attendees. Or visitors can pull up their own chairs, enjoy the barbecue and listen to a lineup of hardworking bands that includes returning favorites as well as bands new to the festival.

A variety of vendors – from arts and crafts to services to businesses – will be open from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.

And for the kids? Games and inflatables will await in a separate area of the festival grounds. Tickets for the children’s activities can be purchased at the kids’ section.

The event is “rain or shine” and free to attend, but tickets must be purchased for children’s rides, food and beer. Cash is king, but credit cards are accepted as well.

“This is a family fun event for everyone in the Rolesville and surrounding communities,”  Bobbitt said. “There are plenty of games, rides, music and activities for anyone attending. And great food from some great cooks.”


11-11:45 – Southern Grace Rocks
12:15-1:00 – Joe Keith and Friends
1:30-2:30 – 9 Xs Around
3:15-4:15 – The Country Justice, our Headliner Band
4:30- 5:45 – The Country Justice, our Headliner Band

— Jeanne E. Fredriksen • • September 2016