BY Staff Reports

SEVIERVILLE — The 18th Annual Bloomin’ BBQ Music & Food Festival brought local and out-of-town guests to downtown Sevierville for an opportunity to enjoy great food and world-class bluegrass and Americana music.

“This was one of our best Bloomin’ BBQ & Bluegrass festivals yet. We appreciate everyone who joined us for this fun weekend and hope they truly enjoyed their time in Sevierville,” said Amanda Marr, Sevierville Chamber of Commerce director of marketing & communications.

Thirty-three cook teams competed in the Bush’s Best Tennessee State Championship Barbeque Cook-Off held during the event.

The Algood Bar-B-Q Pit Crew of Cookeville claimed Grand Champion while Blue Chip BBQ (Louisville, Kentucky) earned the Reserve Grand Champion award. Ancillary cook-off competitions included Anything Bush Beans, which was won by Piglitically Incorrect BBQ (Brandon, Mississippi) and Anything Swaggerty’s Farm Sausage, which was won by The Algood Bar-B-Q Pit Crew.

Thirty vocalists belted out a variety of Dolly Parton songs in unique styles during the 18th annual Mountain Soul Vocal Competition with Kristiana McCombs of Knoxville earning the top spot and grand prize in the 13+ age division while singing “Wildflowers.” Second place went to Mandi Thomas of Cordova who sang “I Will Always Love You.”

Third place honors went to Bailey Griggs of Gastonia, North Carolina, singing “Jolene.”

First place in the 12 and under category went to Sophia Wickwire, of Sevierville, who sang “Coat of Many Colors.” Candice Gunn, Benton, Kentucky, took home second place for her rendition of “Tennessee Homesick Blues” while Claire Beasley, Lyons, Georgia, won third place singing “Coat of Many Colors.”