Fans of local barbecue and live music will have it made this weekend as the annual Mo Blues Cruise & BBQ comes to the Missouri State Fairgrounds on Saturday.
The all-day event costs $10 at the gate and is a fundraiser for the Sedalia Lions Club. Proceeds help support the roughly $30,000 in annual charitable giving the club engages in each year, according to Chris Koetting, the event’s committee chairman. For the second year in a row, the event will be held at the Swine Pavilion on the fairgrounds, which means “we’re good to go, rain or shine,” he said.
“Our main thing is sight and hearing preservation,” Koetting said. “We also do the local Christmas shoe program where we go to all the schools in the area and buy shoes for kids.”
The Lions also support Habitat for Humanity and are working on a project this year at the Sedalia Animal Shelter building: an enclosed visitation center “so people can go out there in a nice environment and see if they get along with a prospective pet.”
That project will be completed in June.
Besides moving to the Swine Pavilion, the event has undergone other changes in the last couple of years to make for a more relaxed setting and encourage local participation.
Saturday’s festivities begin at 9 a.m. with a two-mile Fun Run. Registration for the run begins at 8 a.m. and the $20 entry fee includes admission to the event.
Koetting said that the Fun Run is noncompetitive and open to one and all.
“This isn’t like some of the other races around town. People can walk with their dogs, strollers — you can walk with a pet lizard if you want,” he said.
Another change from years past is replacing the professionally judged barbecue contest with a “tailgating contest.”
“Everyone has gone to a football game and tailgated. The way we have it now, it is not a hard-core competition. It’s just mainly a good time and an opportunity for people to come out and show off what they can do and have fun,” Koetting said.
There is a $50 entry fee for tailgaters with awards for best food, best presentation and best decoration.
The day will also include a car show and, of course, live blues music including:
• Smokestack Soul, noon
• The Sizzlers, 2 p.m.
• The Mojo Roots, 4:30 p.m.
• Levee Town, 7 p.m.
• Linda Shell, 9:30 p.m.
For more information, see the club’s website at sedalialions.org