8 years ago Leighest 0

For the past year my family has eaten, slept, and breathed the First Annual Southern New England Kosher BBQ Championship, and Festival. Mouthful, huh? Dinner hours were spent discussing BBQ teams, sponsors, and entertainment. Sundays were spent schlepping across states to scope out other Festivals.

While, at first we were shocked, dare I say even a bit annoyed, that our lives had become consumed by BBQ, I currently couldn’t be any prouder of my father.

It all started quite innocently, at an outdoor BBQ (sensing a trend?) at my “BBQ father’s” house (my father’s friend and partners in crime). The harmless little Men’s Club BBQ team quickly escalated into an event predicted to host 2,000 people.

After an entire year of vigorous planning, the Kosher BBQ Championship and Festival was a go! Hosted by our Synagogue, Congregation Beth El in Fairfield CT on September 7th, 2014. 3,000 people from all walks of life attended. Orthodox Jews, conservative Jews, reform, Chabad, and gentiles alike all came together to enjoy scrumptious BBQ, and an unbelievable time.

Nineteen BBQ teams participated, including my very own CTeen chapter from Chabad of Fairfield! Oh and by the way we won 5th place in ribs…just saying. All attendees were invited to taste the team’s BBQ, gaze up at their beautiful signs and in the end vote for their favorite team.

Dozens upon dozens of vendors selling paintings, crafts, food, jewelry etc. all set up shop. Several entertainers performed throughout the afternoon, ranging from rock, jazz, magic shows, and much more.

Of course, no Kosher BBQ Championship and Festival would be complete without mouth watering BBQ. Our shul grilled up hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers, and pareve baked goods! However, the main attraction was Ari White, BBQ enthusiast extraordinaire’s catering company, the Wandering Que.

Now let me just for a moment explain to you how amazing this man’s food is. BBQ like you have never tasted! Unbelievable brisket, ribs, sandwiches, turkey legs etc.

For the little kiddos roaming around, bouncy houses, and obstacle courses were set up, along with arts and craft, and face painting stations.

Standing on that green lawn with my immediate, and BBQ family I could not help but well up with pride. For 365 days not only did my father and my BBQ father work full time on their own jobs, but day in and day out on their other job, the BBQ. I can’t recall a week where my father wasn’t creating excel spreadsheets, attending meeting after meeting, sending out letters, etc. for the BBQ.

It just goes to show if you set your mind to something, anything can be accomplished. An enormous mitzvah was accomplished on that bright and sunny Sunday (thank G-d for the amazing weather)! A smile was brought to 3,000 men, women, and children’s faces. No matter one’s religious background, we were all able to rejoice and celebrate together. (Along with amazing food, because let’s be honest no Jewish event is truly a success if you leave with an empty stomach)!