The event celebrates the great Blue-Gray Barbecue of 1889, when local congressman Gordon Lee invited veterans of the Battle of Chickamauga, from both sides of the Mason-Dixon line, to return to the site of the struggle for some camaraderie and a friendly cook-off competition. An estimated 12,000 to 14,000 soldiers returned in peace to participate.
Now, more than 100 years later, the city of Chickamauga celebrates this unique historical reunion. The barbecue contest features three categories: chicken, pulled pork and pork ribs. This year, the contest will be limited to six teams, to give each barbecue connoisseur a greater chance to sell more of his or her dish to the public.
While the barbecue contest is a definite highlight, other attractions this year include living history demonstrations, a cannon firing by Marshall’s Battery of Chattanooga, performances by the popular Civil War-style band The Unreconstructed, as well as the Civil War Ball, which will take place at 7 p.m. in the gardens at the Gordon Lee Mansion.
Downtown Chickamauga will effectively be transported back in time today, though regular downtown vendors will be open to the public as well.