Meat Eaters 

No Midwestern Memorial Day weekend would be complete without barbecue and the Great American Barbecue Festival, which moves this year to the Wyandotte County Park at Capitol Federal Park at Sandstone (633 North 130th Street in Bonner Springs). Starting today, when gates open at 10 a.m., the event serves up three full days of music, carnival rides and smoked-meat mania. Mania is exactly the right word for Sunday afternoon's "Daniel's Barbecue Competitive Rib Eating Contest," where brave souls, often goaded by friends and beer, attempt to win the $500 prize by gulping down 3.1 pounds of baby backs in seven minutes. The trick is to keep the meat down — no "chipmunking" allowed — after the buzzer sounds. A festival organizer says half the fun of watching is the sight of a contestant suffering a humiliating reversal and spitting up all the meat. For even more fun, there's a slaw-eating contest, too. Tonight is the fundraising BBQ Blues Party and Silent Auction at the VIP Judging Pavilion from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Adult tickets cost $25; regular admission to the festival is $10, or $15 for a three-day pass. For more information about the festival or to be a contestant, see thinkbbq.com.
Fri., May 22, 12-10 p.m.; Sat., May 23, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun., May 24, 11 a.m.-9 p.m., 2009

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