Time to fire up the fairground BBQs

COSTA MESA — If you detect a smoky aroma around Costa Mesa this weekend, chances are it will be from one of nearly 60 teams firing up their grills for the Orange County BBQ Festival.

The fourth annual event is the largest such free-standing festival in state — 15,000 are expected to attend the one-day event, said Kelleigh Strobel, event organizer and director of program services for Kristie's Foundation.

Proceeds benefit the Anaheim-based foundation that serves families of critically ill children.

The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and events include live music, the Mr. BBQ Pageant, a rib-eating contest, raffle drawing and closing awards. Admission is $10.

"The event offers the public a rare opportunity to be able to walk from team to team and sample the different offerings," Strobel said. "It really is an amazing event for the barbeque connoisseur and the foodie alike."

Last year, more than 10,000 people attended the event, and 25,000 samples of barbeque were tasted, Strobel said.

There will also be an area for beer tasting, a kids' zone and a car show.

"If you love barbeque, this really is the event for you," Strobel said. "It also benefits a great cause. The event is as unique as our organization."

Kristie's Foundation is aiming to raise funds to build a children's hospice in Southern California. About 50,000 children die of terminal illnesses each year and only two hospices in the country are devoted to caring for them, Strobel said.

For more information, visit http://www.kristies.org.

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