What's that delicious smoky aroma? It must mean it's time for Barbecue Under the Oaks.
The Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra's 28th Annual Barbecue Under the Oaks will be held Saturday at Gulfport's Centennial Plaza, on U.S. 90 between Courthouse Road and Hewes Avenue.
The event, now in its 28th year, features the friendly competitive spirit of about 30 cooking teams of "Ribmeisters" as they try to out-do each other to create the most succulent, smoky, fall-off-the bone barbecue delicacies to thrill the crowds, along with a wide array of traditional down home "fixins" and even gourmet accoutrements.
Ribmeister teams prepare for the event long in advance, and many of them fire up their grills and smokers in the dark of night to slow smoke their ribs, pulled pork, brisket, and other offerings long before the crowds arrive.
Once in the gate, the more than 2,000 guests who attend the event are free to sample any and all of the barbecue specialties at this all-you-can-eat occasion.
The GCSO presents "Never Trust a Skinny Cook" as the 2016 theme, honoring the 2015 winning team's mantra.
"Our guests are drawn to the Barbecue Under the Oaks fundraising event each year by its relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere," said Melanie Clark, barbecue chair. The event is organized by the Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra's Board of Directors and the Symphony Guild. It is the main fundraising event benefiting the Symphony, now in its 54th classical season. Peter Rubardt is the Symphony's music director and conductor.
Barbecue tickets are $40 in advance or $45 at the door for adults, and admission is $10 for children 12 and under. Advance tickets may be purchased from any Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra board member, by calling 896-4276, by visiting the Symphony office in the Knight Nonprofit Center on Seaway Road or online at www.gulfcoastsymphony.net.