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BBQ Tour Stop #7: Charlotte, NC

May 31, 2011

After leaving Kansas City, we made it home Sunday afternoon and had just enough time to repack the trailer to leave Monday morning for Charlotte as tornado sirens started going off at home. We turned on the television and learned of the devastation that had just hit Joplin and was heading straight towards Springfield. We were extremely lucky as it weakened and passed about 10 miles to the South of us. Christine and I left Monday morning to spend the night in Nashville and stayed one step ahead of the storms that whole trip. Tuesday night we made it to the Charlotte area and stayed out by the racetrack.

Wednesday was load-in day and we were in downtown Charlotte with the local streets closed for the Food Lion Speed Street event, which coincides with the Coca Cola 600 held at Lowes Motor Speedway. At events, we cook Cavanaugh Sausages to cut into samples, Tyson Chicken Wings, hamburgers with Weber’s Gourmet Burger seasoning sprinkled on top of, Reser Potato Salad sample cups, Master of Mixes Bloody Mary mix and Margarita Lite samples. On Thursday, the first day of the event, we cooked our daily allotment, which should have lasted through the day but was gone in the first two hours … So we fired the grill back up, cooked more and called in a special order to the local Sam’s Club.

Speed Street was also the third time that we had Redwood Creek Wine along for sampling. Sue and the girls were as overwhelmed as we were by the large crowds and enthusiastic race fans!

Late Thursday, storms hit the Charlotte area and straight-line winds swept through the downtown area and the police department closed the event and cleared the streets. When we got onsite Friday morning, our tents were still standing but our tables were scattered down the street. We were much luckier than folks up the street whose lightweight tents were entangled up in the trees lining the street! Much of Friday was rainy but that didn’t stop the crowds from coming out and once again, we went through the samples!

Saturday was the final day and the forecast was for clear and sunny throughout the day which brought out the crowds. This was probably one of the busiest days we have experienced in our four years on the BBQ Tour! Turkey Hill ice cream was three tents down and passed out ice cream samples. On the other side of us was the Jeff Gordon Drive to End Hunger booth with a spinning wheel that “clickety, clacked” all weekend long along with the race car that was used in the Brad Paisley Old Alabama video. Dole even had a booth with “Bobby” Banana mingling with the crowds.

Because the event ended on Saturday and the city crews had to clean the streets and the area, we pulled off the street around 1:15 or so on Sunday morning and while I am sure we could have scored some race tickets, we headed out Sunday late morning before the race crowds started heading towards the racetrack.

Hopefully we can go back to Charlotte for as one fan put it “Feed Street” next year!

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