To help get past the coldest day of the year, think about the strains of great music and the aroma of great barbecue awakening the senses on a balmy Appalachian morning.
The fantasy is only 100 days from reality as the final countdown begins to Brenau University's fourth annual barbecue cooking festival on the historic campus in Gainesville.
Set to kick off Memorial Day weekend on Friday and Saturday, May 25-26, the Brenau Barbecue Championship features appearances and gastronomic exhibitions from some of the top professional cooking teams in the Southeast.
But the festival also attracts a score of top-flight amateur cook teams and dozens of vendors offering everything from relishes and rubs to upscale designer neckties and handmade jewelry.
"We still have a number of open spots for both amateur and professional cook teams," said Jim Barco, Brenau's senior vice president for institutional development and the perennial grand marshal of the pork parade that is part of the Memphis Barbecue Network's national competition circuit.
"But we've also had many requests from those who have attended previous festivals to open up more slots for non-barbecue vendors, and we are going to do exactly that."
Barco is putting final touches on the musical programs for performances in the Brenau Amphitheater during the Friday night preview party and the daylong Saturday festival. And, he says he is also making arrangements for a repeat engagement of the antique auto show on the front lawn of the campus.
All proceeds from the barbecue contribute to scholarships for deserving Brenau students from the area. For more information, contact Barco at 770-534-6161 or go to the website.