Smyrna BBQ Fest Draws Community to Depot District

Photo by Lee Rennick

With the humidity pushed back by the rain and the temperatures easing down the thermometer, thousands took advantage of the good food and entertaining sounds provided by Smyrna’s Depot District Barbecue Festival last weekend.

In its seventh year, this is an event that Smyrna Parks and Recreation makes a point of keeping smaller than many of their other celebrations. There were only 15 vendors, but that is what they wanted, and every one provided succulent barbecue, yummy desserts or thirst-quenching drinks. 

“We just want people to come enjoy the Depot District,” said Mike Moss, Parks and Recreation Director. “And the food vendors and local businesses in the area.” 

Accompanying great food was great music. On the Depot stage, the Mark Anthony Ensemble provided an assortment of classic rock and country hits to entertain and get participants and visitors moving. Everywhere families were sitting and enjoying the food and the sounds. 

For the third year in a row Jeff Shipley’s Shipdawg’s Barbecue won the People’s Choice Award for the Best Barbecue. Shipley has been catering barbecue at local events for six years. Other barbecue trucks present included Kinfolks, Slick Pig, Smokin’ Butz, Sweet T’s, Burnt Endz and Smoke Boss.   

Regardless of who won, there were long lines everywhere, with many people choosing different types of barbecue from different vendors. 

“We went to Slick Pig for ribs,” said Norman Blaine, “and now we are going to Smoke Boss for pulled pork.” 

NyTy’s Sweet Treats, one of the dessert trucks, provided the crowd with lemonade and Italian ice. This is their third year attending the barbecue festival. With the balmy air, lemonade could be found in just about every hand.

To keep the young ones entertained, there was a bounce slide. As usual, kids were having a great time climbing up to the top of the slide and swooping back down. 

“These Front Street events offer the community in Smyrna an opportunity to come together,” said Town Council member Steve Sullivan, “allowing us to keep the small-town feel.” 

Coordinated by the Smyrna Parks and Recreation department, they work with the City of Smyrna, as well as the police and fire departments to make it a success. And it was another community hit!

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