Small bites: RibFest gets a makeover

THE WILD SIDE:Carolina West RibFest organizers say the revamped festival will offer a more eclectic blend of entertainment than past events , including sideshow acts and cancan girls. Photo courtesy of AKA Entertainment & Media

RibFest gets a makeover

As in summers past, WNC residents can expect a barbecue rib festival to happen this month at the WNC Agricultural Center. But this year there’s a new RibFest in town. What has been called since 2007 the Carolina Mountain RibFest will now be known as Carolina West RibFest and will sport an edgy new look aimed at appealing to a broader, more alternative audience.

Due to health issues, event founder and local events promoter John Patterson recently passed the RibFest torch to Greensboro, N.C.-based AKA Entertainment & Media, which plans to take the festival in a new direction.

Allen McDavid, AKA’s president, says the event will maintain a focus on serving up top-quality barbecued ribs, but gone are the days of country music, sweet tea and car shows. Instead, the event will provide a rather eclectic mix of entertainment — think sideshow acts, cancan girls and masked lucha libre wrestlers.

“The former Carolina Mountain RibFest has joined similar events in Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh, Wilmington and Winston-Salem that put a different twist on what a barbecue festival is all about. But make no mistake about it, the meat and music are taken very seriously … the rest of the show, not so much,” says McDavid via email.

Carolina West RibFest will feature an expanded roster of high-profile, national barbecue competitors, including Solomon Williams of South Carolina’s Carolina Rib King, Rooster Roberts of Arcadia, Fla.’s Florida Skin and Bones and Larry Murphy of Camp 31 out of Castelberry, Ala., all vying for four top awards.

Musical performers will include Underhill Rose, Circus Mutt, Moon Taxi and Jason McKinney. There will also be plenty of vendors, a kids zone and a saloon as well as product samples from Wisconsin’s Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co. and California’s Cupcake Vineyards.

Carolina West RibFest runs Friday and Saturday, July 11-13, at the WNC Ag Center in Fletcher. Admission is $7 for adults. Children get in free. Details at Look for updates at /.


Brad Daugherty to open South Asheville eatery

Former NBA star, ESPN food-show host and NASCAR team owner Brad Daugherty has announced plans to open a new restaurant, Daugherty’s American Kitchen and Drink, in the South Asheville Gerber Village location that until recently was the home of Frankie Bones. Traci Kearns of the Asheville-based Alchemy Design is doing a major overhaul on the interior to reconfigure the space with a new theme and a second bar. Menu items will be designed for sharing, and stacks of small plates at each table will facilitate communal enjoyment of the dishes among guests. Daugherty’s is slated to open in mid to late July with dinner service starting at 4 p.m. daily. Lunch service will be added starting Friday, Aug. 1. The bar will will be open with a quick-bites menu available 10 p.m.-midnight.


Battle of the Burger


Asheville Food Fights’ hugely successful Asheville Wing War will soon be joined by a new installment in the series of annual culinary throw-downs to raise money for local charities: the WNC Battle of the Burger. Only 15 local restaurants will be allowed to compete for the title of Best Burger in WNC in the event on Sunday, Aug. 10, at the Renaissance Asheville Hotel downtown. Three bands will take the stage while competitors cook outdoors on grills around the hotel grounds. A limited number of You Be the Judge tickets will be available for $30 that include all-you-can-eat burger samples and beer from Sierra Nevada and Pisgah Brewing. General admission is $5 per person for ages 12 and older. Children get in free. So far, the lineup includes Ambrozia, Farm Burger, Mojo Kitchen and Lounge, The Social, King James Public House, The Vault, Ben’s Tune-Up and BT’s Burger Joint. The winner will qualify to participate in the World Food Championships to be held in Las Vegas in November.

Nominate your favorite local burger joint at or by emailing








About Gina Smith
Gina Smith is the Mountain Xpress Food section editor and writer. She can be reached at

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2 thoughts on “Small bites: RibFest gets a makeover

  1. I’m not surprised to read that, “Due to health issues” the RibFest Founder and local events promoter will be handing off his duties to another. Eating all that artery-clogging, disease-inducing, obesity-causing crap no doubt greatly contributed to his health woes. When will people learn to leave all those animal products off the menu and choose healthy, humane, environmentally-sustainable and delicious vegan fare instead? Judging by the photo of one of the “award-winning” competitors featured with this article, it couldn’t be a moment too soon!

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