LEXINGTON, N.C. — The Lexington Barbecue Festival is not happening this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Event coordinator Stephanie Saintsing Naset said the community is coming together for a day of service in honor of the annual festival.
"We just felt really compelled and it took a few weeks to kind of get the idea going, so we decided to Lift-Up Lexington, to partner with Pastor's Pantry to generate some donations for that organization," Naset said Pastor's Pantry has a high need right now, just ahead of the holidays and winter season.
Lift-up Lexington will host a food drive and blood drive on Saturday, Oct. 24.
There are seven drop off locations where donors can donate at least five items for the food drive. Acceptable items include new, unexpired non-perishable food items such as canned goods, cereal, pasta and crackers.
Several restaurants will have tents set up to collect donations from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Smokey Joe's Barbecue, Barbecue Center, Speedy's Barbecue and Stamey's Barbecue will all participate.
Donors will receive a coupon for a free barbecue sandwich, which can be used on Saturday only at the restaurant where donations were dropped off. A maximum of four coupons per family will be awarded.
Event organizers will also accept food drive donations as well a blood drive at the J. Smith Young YMCA. The blood drive will operate from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and benefits the American Red Cross. Blood donors will earn a special t-shirt and a free barbecue sandwich.
Several retailers in Uptown Lexington will participate in the food drive, in partnership with the Lexington Tourism Authority. Retailers are offering a discount voucher or giveaway for donations.
"It's just a really great feeling seeing everybody energetically come on board with this project," said Naset about Saturday's event.
Other food donation sites available will include:
- The Lexington Visitor Center, 2 N. Main Street, from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
- Food Lion, 848 N. Winston Road, from 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
At the end of the day, a bonus show will air on the festival's Facebook page. The Barbecue Festival Virtual Show and Concert starts at 7:00 p.m. and premieres a video presentation of videos and pictures from previous festivals and interview. Chairmen of the Board and Jim Quick and the Coastline Band will perform for the concert.
You can find more information on the Barbecue Festival's website.