Barbecue cook-off to take place at Legion Field

COVINGTON - Sherman's Last Burning, the annual fall festival and barbecue cook-off sponsored by the Covington Lions Club, is becoming a fall tradition in Covington.

This year's event will take place from 3 to 8 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at Legion Field on Mill Street.

Both days will feature arts and crafts, entertainment and lots of barbecue.

But the main event will be the cook-off, beginning at noon Saturday, where more than 25 professionals will compete in several categories to see who makes the best barbecue. Winners get cash, prizes and a chance to qualify for the national Jack Daniel's competition.

Other activities at the festival this year include a movie screening at 8 p.m. Friday. Everyone in attendance is invited to gather around a big-screen TV and watch at no extra charge, said Buddy Adams, co-chair of the event. The movie that will be shown has not been selected.

There will also be a Mr. and Miss Hazzard Contest for all those "The Dukes of Hazzard" fans and a Covington Idol contest, where local singers will have the chance to compete in a singing competition modeled after the hit reality show "American Idol." Finalists will perform before a panel of "celebrity" judges at 1 p.m. Saturday for a grand prize of $250 and a recording session.

Festival-goers will also have the chance to get up close and personal with some creepy, crawly critters courtesy of state-licensed reptile handler Jason Clark, who will host the Southeastern Reptile Rescue show. Clark is a regular on the news on WSB-TV and gives presentations to organizations such as the Georgia Wildlife Federation. He will perform 45-minute shows at 7 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday.

This is the third year the Lions Club has put on the event, which drew between 8,000 and 10,000 people last year.

"There is something for everybody," Adams said. "With the reptile guy, we tried to get outdoor-type things. There are antique tractors coming; there's a kids play area; there's arts and crafts for mom to go see. The Fish (104.7-FM) radio station will be there on Friday night, and 92.3 Real Country from Monroe will be there Saturday."

It's all in good fun, but there's also a serious purpose. Proceeds benefit the Lions Club eye care programs, which provide glasses and eye exams to the underprivileged and assist the blind.

Proceeds will also fund scholarships for seniors at local high schools.

Admission is $3 per person. Children 12 and under who are accompanied by an adult get in free.

For more information, visit www.covingtongalions.org.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.

SideBar: If You Go

What: Sherman's Last Burning fall festival and barbecue cook-off

When: 3 to 8 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday

Where: Legion Field on Mill Street