Bay Area Barbecue Championship
When: Saturday, July 7, starts at 10 a.m., judging begins at 11 a.m., game at 7:10 p.m.
Where: Oakland Coliseum (7000 Coliseum at Hegenberger)
Cost: $33 general/ $78 VIP; Kids: $12 general/ $41 VIP
The Rundown: Chefs will fire up the grills and prepare their best (and likely top-secret) BBQ recipes at the Bay Area Barbecue Championship early next month. These serious-about-BBQ chefs (from over 40 pro and amateur teams) arrive the night before to give pep talks to their grills and ready their favorite basting brushes. BBQ lovers and baseball fans are invited to arrive the following morning as early as 10 a.m. to watch the chefs work on their masterpieces before judging by the high-BBQ IQ panel which includes Hass Zare (Zare at Flytrap) and Scott Youkilis (Maverick, Hogs & Rocks). But don't worry the competing chefs won't torture the crowds, each ticket includes five tastings -- along with seats for the A's vs. Mariners game that evening and access to the rest of the day's festivities: a BBQ and beer pairing tent, chef demos, a firehouse vs. firehouse cook-off, and more. And after attendees have made their rounds, they'll be able to crown their own favorite BBQ in the "People's Choice" category.
Not only is it a BBQ competition and a baseball game, but the event serves as a fundraiser for Alternative Family Services, an organization dedicated to the Bay Area's foster youth. The sole monetary fundraiser for AFS, Director Jay Berlin says "these are difficult times for foster kids and foster child programs. Because of the economic crisis, the state cut payment rates to all the private foster care agencies by 10% in late 2009. This seriously limited everything we [at AFS] do -- from how many kids we can send to summer camp [or other activities] to what we pay hard working foster parents and incredibly dedicated social workers."
If you think you belong behind the grill at this event, and have what it takes to compete, there's still time to sign up your BBQ team here.