If you missed out on the tantalizing grilled and smoked ribs at last year’s inaugural Doko Rib Fest cookoff competition, your odds of snagging a sample will be twice as good this year.

The Rib Fest returns to Blythewood Saturday, March 13 with plans for double the amount of ribs available for tasting. The event sold out 2,800 pounds of ribs by 3 p.m. last year, according to Phil Frye, executive director of the host Greater Blythewood Chamber of Commerce. This year’s event will increase the number of competing grillmeister teams from 41 to as many as 60. Up to 50 vendors also will be lined up to offer beverages, other food choices, merchandise and activities. Musicians will perform live from noon until 10 p.m. at the park’s amphitheater.

Competitors will have seven hours to prepare their entries, starting at 6 a.m. Judging begins at 1 p.m. and winners will be announced at 4:30 p.m. Attendees can purchase wristbands for unlimited tastings, or opt for full racks of ribs or rib plates with sides. Up to 2,500 attendees per hour, including contestants, vendors and volunteers, will be allowed at this year's event under pandemic guidelines, Frye said. Masks and social distancing protocols will be in effect.

The first Rib Fest attracted more than 2,000 rib fans and raised $6,000 for local nonprofit organizations and the Blythewood chamber’s annual college scholarship.

Winners included The Hamskills of Columbia in the People’s Choice category, Red Cup Q from Blythewood in the professional division, BooBoo Que from Winnsboro in the amateur division, and Fat Bellies from Columbia in the military veteran division.

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