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Annual BBQ nixed, new dinner set
• Community dinner on Fourth Street set for September 15
Ceres Chamber

The annual barbecue event, “Bands, Brews & BBQ Throwdown” originally set for Aug. 10-11 will not be happening.

The event has been sponsored by the Ceres Chamber of Commerce for the past four consecutive years. The first and second was in 2014 at the Tuolumne River Lodge, followed up by a change of venue at River Oaks Golf Course in 2016 and the 2017 event held at Whitmore Park in downtown Ceres. 

Last year’s event held in August was sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society and opened up to professional and amateur divisions. A total of 34 teams participated.

Chamber Executive Director Renee Ledbetter said she hopes the event will return in 2019 and explained the reasons for cancelling this year were varied. For one thing, sponsors didn’t material and secondly most professional teams signed up do not participate in the public tastings.

“That’s where half of our revenue comes from – the tasting tickets,” said Ledbetter. “And seeing that we had a fewer number of early-day registrations this year and combined with a lot of the sponsors that we were trying to reach out to, they’re already tapped out. It just seems like a tight year for the sponsors.”

While barbecue lovers may be groaning over the cancellation, the Chamber is planning to host a “One Table, One Community” event on Fourth Street on Saturday, Sept. 15. Ledbetter said the concept calls for closing the newly refurbished section of downtown and setting up a long dinner table. The event opens as with a 6 p.m. wine stroll and 7 p.m. dinner.  The Chamber met with Fourth Street business owners to let them know about the event and plans to ask local restaurants to participate.

“We want to do this in celebration of not only our 100 years of community but also to celebrate the new revitalized downtown,” said Ledbetter. “We really haven’t done anything to celebrate the downtown.”

The plan is to place wine stations in some of the participating businesses during the evening event to help drive foot traffic through their doors.

The evening will also kick off a new 12 Days of Christmas shopping spree promotion. The Chamber will be seeking 12 to 36 businesses to participate by offering donated products for a raffle winner. Tickets will be sold at $10. Winners will be announced Dec. 1.

“It’s all to encourage people to shop local.”

The Chamber won’t be holding the “Dinner & a Movie” event like last fall.

“We kind of don’t want to do the same events every year. We kind of like to change it up.”