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Autumnfest to host barbecue competition

New October festival also will have wine tastings, crafters, bands and cornhole tournament

By Sally Voth -- svoth@nvdaily.com

WOODSTOCK -- Some Kansas City flavor is coming to town this fall.

In what Woodstock Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jenna French hopes is the start of a new tradition, Autumnfest will make its debut Oct. 22 at the Shenandoah County Fairgrounds.

Its feature event will be the Shenandoah BBQ Competition, which will be sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society, she said.

County vineyards will offer wine tastings, and there will be crafters and bands, as well as a cornhole tournament and other games. The annual business expo is being incorporated into the festival, too, French said.

"We had been holding meetings earlier this year, which are still ongoing, with different groups of our members," French said. "[We had] an overwhelming response [from] people looking for more signature events here in Woodstock and the county and ways to attract tourists to the valley."

Not only is it hoped events like Autumnfest will be attractive to tourists, but to locals as well.

"They make it a fun place for the local residents to live and work," French said.
Autumnfest also will raise money for the Chamber of Commerce, she said.

Registration for barbecue teams is $250, with the winner taking home $1,500, and more than $5,000 in total prizes, French said.

The idea of a barbecue contest was a spin-off from the chili cook-off, she said. Plus, Shenandoah County Fair Manager Dean Morgan, a member of the chamber, is a Kansas City Barbeque Society certified judge.

Participants can amass points, which ultimately lead to the world championships in Kansas City, Morgan said.

"It's like everything else in the first year, you're building," he said. "But, there's a lot of people who are very fond of barbecuing. There's a lot of these really professional teams that are from several states surrounding us and from Virginia that will be coming to compete."

Morgan encourages backyard barbecuers who think they've got a great product to register.

French said the governor has declared the competition a Virginia state championship.
Barbecue registration forms are available online at www.woodstockvachamber.com, or by calling the chamber office or the county fair.

Autumnfest tickets are $10 for adults in advance, and $15 at the gate. Children 11-16 are $5, and it's free for those 10 and under, French said.

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