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2018 Festival of Discovery ushering in Kids Que competition; applications available now

Post Date:03/12/2018 9:30 AM

Index Journal


Budding barbecuers, get ready to light your grill fires.

South Carolina Festival of Discovery will host its first "Kids Que" competition, for children ages 6 to 15, from 6-8 p.m. July 13 at the Uptown Market.

Applications, general information and rules are available now, online at

Space is limited to 24 entries. The entry fee is $50 per application. 

Lara Hudson, Uptown Greenwood manager, said this is a new component for the award-winning South Carolina Festival of Discovery. Now in its 18th year, Festival of Discovery is a three-day festival in Uptown Greenwood, full of Kansas City Barbeque Society competition barbecue, live blues music, crafts and more. 

"Every year after the festival concludes, Greenwood City Manager Charlie Barrineau is like, 'Great job team! What's next?'" Hudson said. "We've been thinking about Kids Que for a couple years."

Hudson said this past November, City of Greenwood folks visited Cumming, Georgia's Kid's Que competition that is part of that town's National BBQ Cup / KCBS event — Que'n in Cumming.

"That Kid's Que competition is hosted and organized by Randall Bowman and his wife, Amanda, of Deep South Smokers, who have competed in our Festival of Discovery," Hudson said. "It's a good way to teach kids about the art of barbecuing. We are doing it to grow that next generation of pit masters."

Hudson said the Georgia competition had some adult teams with youths participating in Kid's Que. Others were youth teams from the wider community.

"There were siblings cooking together," Hudson said. "So long as teams used the required signature ingredients, they could cook whatever they wanted. One kid made tacos. Others made meatballs, stuffed burgers and quesadillas."

Hudson, who is now a certified KCBS judge, said "it looked like professionals" had cooked. 

"The kids took it pretty serious," Hudson said. 

Amanda Bowman of Deep South Smokers said she and her husband started sponsoring Kids Que competitions at various contests and decided to do a Kids Que last year in Cummings.

"We had 20 kids competing in our Kids Que last year," Bowman said. "It was pretty big."

Bowman said her youngest son, Cash, competed in one in Kansas City, Kansas when he was nine.

"He won and it was the first time he ever cooked," Bowman said. "Ever since then, watching how he reacted and how his interest in cooking developed, it's so fun to watch."

Bowman said children gain a "sense of accomplishment" through prepping, cooking and turning in competition dishes.

"The kids don't want adults to help them do anything," Bowman said. "They really take away a sense of pride...These kids are the future of barbecue."

Bowman said when kids compete, it becomes a great way for families to spend time together. 

"There's lots of practice that takes place and working out recipes before competition, with family taste testing," Bowman said. "It goes beyond competition."

For the inaugural Festival of Discovery Kids Que, rules state competitors will be provided and must use two pounds of ground beef and one package of Carolina Pride bacon.

"It will run just like a KCBS competition," Hudson said. "There will be a kids' team meeting, and the adult working with the child will have to be there. Kids will cook and turn in during the same time frame as our Anything Goes competition Friday night."

Awards will be presented at 5 p.m. July 14.

Hudson said a number of KCBS competitions already host kids' barbecue events.

"Our community has embraced the Festival Discovery so much," Hudson said. "This is a natural progression."

Hudson said plans are for each Kids Que team officially registered to receive for use during competition small charcoal grills that they will get to keep.

"We are hoping to find a sponsor for the grills," Hudson said.