LAWRENCEVILLE — The scent of BBQ was strong in the air along one stretch of Buford Drive in Lawrenceville on Friday and Saturday, March 5 and 6. The sixth annual Sip & Swine BBQ Festival took over Coolray Field.
The proceeds from the annual festival go to the Home of Hope at Gwinnett Children’s Shelter located in Buford. The Home of Hope organization is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide shelter and resources to homeless children from birth to age 17 and their young mothers. The shelter also provides care and services for young ladies over the age of 17 who have aged out of the foster care system and need help.
The weather was beautiful during the two-day event, which raised approximately $50,000 for the shelter and saw approximately 8,000 people in attendance. Attendees got to watch live musicians perform, check out the numerous vendors, show their support for the cause and, of course, sample the delicious food on offer.
The competition side of the festival had 120 teams compete in the pro division and backyard division. The categories that teams in the Pro division could win in were the pro pork, pro chicken, pro brisket, pro pork ribs and the most prestigious award, pro overall. In the backyard division, competitors vied for the top spots in the backyard chicken, backyard pork, backyard pork ribs and the highest award, backyard overall. The pro grand champion of the 2021 Sip & Swine BBQ Festival was Triple H BBQ, while the backyard grand winner was Swine-O’s.
As one can imagine, an event of this size took the hard work of countless volunteers to be a success.
“Typically we have about 200 volunteers, however, COVID changed all that and we were able to pull it off with about 96 wonderful people helping,” said Maureen Kornowa, executive director of the Home of Hope shelter.
An event like this also depends on the generosity of its sponsors. The festival was sponsored by the Rick Hendrick Automotive Group, which includes Rick Hendrick Chevrolet — Duluth; Rick Hendrick Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram — Duluth; Rick Hendrick Buick GMC, Rick Hendrick Chevrolet of Buford, Mall of Georgia Mini; and Mall of Georgia Mazda.
“Our sponsors were key to the success of this event and our grand champion sponsor is Rick Hendrick Automotive Group,” Kornowa said.
Kornowa was quick to say the festival would not be what it is without Jim Lloyd and his wife Cindy of Sugar Hill. Jim, the president/CEO of InsuranceHub, has been involved with the shelter for the past six years
“He is a member of Kansas City BBQ Society and is the reason this event is such a success,” Kornowa said. “His knowledge of the barbecue world and the connections he has with those who have a heart for our mission is what makes the Sip & Swine BBQ Festival run so very well. We are eternally grateful.”
The Sip & Swine BBQ Festival will return next year on the first Friday and Saturday of March. For more information on the festival visit sipandswine.com. If you wish to know more about the Home of Hope, visit their website at homeofhopegcs.org.