Festival offers heaping helpings of barbecue and blues

People of all ages headed to the ninth annual Pigz in Z’Hills BBQ & Blues Festival to sample some ribs, barbecue chicken or pulled pork — and get their fill of the blues.

Smoke emanates from the grill, as Edwin Alvarez, of Kissimmee, prepares chicken on a stick, which is called Pincho. Alvarez and his boss, Luis Merced, of Largo, were preparing food for patrons at the barbecue festival. (Fred Bellet)

The scent of barbecue filled the air, Benny the Pig made the rounds and people sported pig hats — as they strolled around the Zephyrhills Community Venue, at 5200 Airport Road.

Some barbecue chefs traveled from far-off places to take part in a competition involving about 60 teams who vied for bragging rights and prizes, and a chance to advance to the World Food Championship.

Besides being able to enjoy barbecue, event-goers could check out items being offered by various vendors and could listen to blues musicians.

There was a car show and an aviation show, too.

Proceeds benefit community organizations, such as the YMCA, and for scholarships for Zephyrhills High School students.

First-timers at the Pigz in Z’Hills BBQ & Blues Festival, left, Coral Etshman, of Tampa, gives friend Reggie Bowers, of Tampa, a taste of pulled pork.

The Ellie Lee Band was among the lineup of bands performing at the ninth annual Pigz in Z’Hills BBQ & Blues Festival. Other bands playing were the Dave Shepard Band, Chuck Riley’s All Stars, The Bird Tribe and headliner Damon Fowler.

Jerry Newell, of Zephyrhills, had his own pig hat, which he wore to the festival.



  1. Ron Lerigo Diane Lerigo says

    I would like to judge this bbq comp Ron Lerigo and Diane LERIG

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