BBQ Festival heats up Downtown Fort Myers

Posted at 10:50 PM, Apr 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-01 09:15:15-04

Southwest Floridians do not plan to let high temperatures stop them from spending their time in downtown
Fort Myers for the 4th Annual Smoke on the Water Barbeque Competition and Music Festival.

"This is Florida, people are used to the heat, if you live here, you aren't scared," said Dana 'Big Papa' Hillis, from Big Papa's Country Kitchen in Naples.

Some say the real heat is coming off the many grills.

"Oh it's hot, miserably hot, but this Florida," said Fast Eddy, from Pig In and Pig Out from LaBelle. "This is Florida, what do you expect," he added.

The award winning vendors are even enough for those who usually pass on meaty entrees to make an excuse to dig in for the feast.

"I'm a vegetarian, so I don't really come out to these things that often," said Joseph Kali, who works in the river district.

Several of the grill masters have experience from past festivals to help stave off the scorching temperatures.

"If anybody is out there and wants to eat some BBQ, it's going to be a little hot but we are going to have the breeze blowing, and some fans blowing, so we'll have a way to get cool," said Hillis, who has traveled to BBQ events as far as Las Vegas.

Festival goers kept their cool Friday afternoon with cold beverages.

"I'm drinking a lot of water, you have to keep hydrated," said Kali.

Southwest Floridians searched for some shady spots to enjoy their BBQ treasures.

"I'm sitting in the shade, but once the sun goes down, it is going to be great," said Kevin Demers, as he ate a plate of ribs, corn and beans.

Everyone braved the heat in order to get their hands on some award-winning food.

"We won best ribs in America and went to Vegas for the World Food Championships and won best pork in the world."

The Smoke on the Water Barbecue Competition and music festival continues Saturday, April 29th. All the action starts up again at 11am until 10pm.