memorial-day-main-stBack by popular demand, Mitchell residents can take to the streets to enjoy some beer and barbecue as part of this year’s 11th annual Memorial Weekend in Mitchell event.

Saturday’s event, hosted by the Imagine Guild, will feature a full day of family friendly activities, culminating in the barbecue cook-off. Children’s activities will be available from 11:30 a.m. until 4 p.m., while other events for the public will kickoff around noon and last until 9 p.m.

“(The cookoff) was such a success last year, it’s become one of the major focal points of this year’s event,” said Imagine Guild president Joe Mielke.

Mielke said 12 teams have signed up for the competition, where they will be evaluated on their barbecued ribs and pork loin by a panel of judges from the Kansas City BBQ Society — come rain or shine.

The public can buy sample cups and vote for people’s choice, and new this year, winners will be awarded a traveling trophy.

Judging will begin around 4:30 p.m., while public sampling will begin at 5 p.m., Mielke said, and will last until 9 p.m. — or until the food runs out. Sample cups are $5, and a beer garden event cup is $7.

The cook-off will be on Main Street between First and Railroad streets, and, unlike years past, Mielke said there will be a beer garden for people to enjoy their brews and barbecue; there will be no open containers all along Main Street.

Other events will take up the rest of Main Street downtown, including a car show; free children’s events including inflatables, bounce houses and a kiddie train; a 2 p.m. children’s pedal tractor pull; a charity poker run; and live entertainment.

Mielke said registration for the car show is at the intersection of Third and Main, while registration for the charity poker run will be at the main stage between Third and Fourth avenues, near Einstein’s. Both registrations run from 10 to 11:30 a.m., and the poker run is scheduled to start at noon. Poker run registration is $30 per person; car show registration is $15 per car.

Live entertainment will be at the main stage from noon to 4 p.m. The car show and children’s events will last all afternoon, Mielke said, and the last stop for the poker run will be at the barbecue cook-off.

The Imagine Guild is an organization that raises funds to support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, which is where proceeds from the day’s events will go.

As of Thursday afternoon, the National Weather Service forecast included temperatures in the low 70s, with a 40 percent chance of rain on Saturday. That jumps up to a 70 percent chance of rain Saturday night, with “showers and thunderstorms likely.”

Par for the course, Mielke said.

“We’ve had a chance of rain on Memorial Weekend I think every year,” Mielke said. “It’s been a threat every time.”

But he said the day-long event has weathered storms in the past — literally — and typically gets by with only a brief cessation in activities before being able to resume.

“We take it as it comes, and so far — knock on wood — it’s never stopped the event,” he said.

In the case of truly severe weather, Mielke said there is no way to relocate or reschedule the event.

But if it’s just sprinkling, “Bring an umbrella or wear a raincoat.”


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