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The inaugural Pinehurst Barbecue Festival, presented by US. Foods, Business North Carolina Magazine and Pinehurst Resort, will be staged over Labor Day Weekend in the historic Village of Pinehurst, event organizer Tarheel Festivals LLC announced.

The three-day Pinehurst Barbecue Festival — including a Celebration Concert, “Q” School Grilling Classes & Demos, Bourbon and Bites tasting event, VIP “Meet the “Masters” reception and the weekend finale, The Ed Mitchell Pitmaster Invitational — will feature some of North Carolina’s top award-winning pitmasters who will cook whole hog, brisket, ribs, chicken and sausage and provide various Southern sides for patrons to sample.

A craft beer garden, along with sauce and spice sampling from vendors, live entertainment and more will highlight Sunday’s main event.

Advanced tickets to the Pinehurst Barbecue Festival on Sept. 3-5, are now on sale at www.pinehurstbarbecuefestival.com.

“The Pinehurst Barbecue Festival hosted in the iconic Village of Pinehurst will be a celebration of taste and traditon,” said Peter Stilwell, co-founder for the Pinehurst Barbecue Festival. “The festival will feature the finest barbecue in the Carolinas from ‘Pitmaster-to-plate,’ highlighting the perpetual battle of Eastern vs. Western styles of flavor.”

Mitchell is known as “The Pitmaster” in BBQ circles and has been cooking whole hog barbecue for more than five decades. The Wilson, N.C., native has been featured on the Food Network and is currently a judge on the network’s Moonshiner Barbecue series.

Mitchell also earned bragging rights by beating legendary “Iron Chef” Bobby Flay in a BBQ Cookoff.

A ticket to the Ed Mitchell Pitmaster Invitational, the Pinehurst Barbecue Festival’s signature event on Sunday, Sept. 5, will include five BBQ meat samples and five traditional side item samples for $45, while a ticket for children 12 and under is $25 and will include three meat samples with sides. On-site, day-of tickets may be available, but are not guaranteed since a limited number of tickets are available before the festival is sold out.

Additional pitmasters include renowned Chef Joe Lumbrazo, co-owner of Backyard Bistro restaurant and catering in Raleigh, and Ashley Sheppard, co-owner and pitmaster for the historic Pik N Pig Restaurant in Carthage. The remaining pitmasters for the Ed Mitchell Pitmaster Invitational will be announced in the coming weeks.

The Pinehurst Barbecue Festival weekend kicks off Friday, Sept. 3 with “Music on Magnolia,” a concert adjacent to the Pinehurst Brewing Co., featuring the Southern Rock duo McKenzie’s Mill.

Originally from West End, the pair of brothers — Justin and Ryan Harris — named the band after the street they grew up on in the North Carolina Sandhills. They now call Nashville, Tenn., home, but will return to their local stomping grounds with their band this summer for the inaugural Pinehurst Barbecue Festival concert.

Tickets to the concert are $12.50 each. Kids 12 and under are free with a paying adult. Food and beverages will be available for purchase during the concert.

“Our goal is to create a unique community event that offers something for everyone,” said Pinehurst Barbecue Festival co-founder David Droschak. “Music lovers, backyard chefs, bourbon and cigar connoisseurs and ‘foodies’ who crave really good barbecue will really enjoy this weekend. Patrons can purchase tickets for each event separately or take advantage of the VIP Pinehurst Barbecue Festival Pass.”

Tickets are available through the festival website or through ticketing partner www.ticketmesandhills.com.

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