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200 pounds of tomatoes are on the menu for this upcoming luncheon
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The 26th annual Jack McKibbon BLT Luncheon is set for Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022, at Peach State Bank & Trust in Gainesville. Photo courtesy Zachary Spears/Unsplash

Eighty loaves of Sunbeam bread, 200 pounds of local tomatoes and 3,000 strips of bacon can only mean one thing in Gainesville: it’s BLT Luncheon time again.

The 26th annual Jack McKibbon BLT Luncheon is slated for 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 3, in the parking lot of Peach State Bank at 325 Washington St., boasting free BLT sandwiches and homemade peach ice cream for all who swing by.

And, folks will once again have a chance to flex their baking prowess as this year’s ode to bacon, lettuce and tomatoes — smeared with Duke’s mayonnaise, of course — pairs with the event’s second annual peach bake-off.

Jack McKibbon BLT Luncheon

What: Free BLT lunch and peach bake-off

When: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Aug. 3

Where: Peach State Bank parking lot, 325 Washington St., Gainesville

Bake-off entry deadline: 10:30 a.m. Aug. 3

More info: 770-536-1100

Bakers of all ages can choose between three peachy categories: cakes, pies and cobblers or cookies and dessert bars. 

Judging each scratch-made submission’s appearance, consistency, flavor and creativity will be Gainesville Mayor Sam Couvillon, Fire Chief Brandon Ellis and Police Chief Jay Parrish.

Immediate family members of the judges won’t be allowed to compete in the bake-off, noted Susan Williams, one of the organizers of the event and vice president of the bank.

Each category’s grand prize winner will receive a Cuisinart air fryer toaster oven.

The judging is slated to commence at 11 a.m. 

The deadline to enter is 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 3. All entrants are asked to provide their name, address and phone number.

Like last year’s luncheon, instead of attendees making their own BLTs, volunteers will serve them with gloves on.

And, true to tradition, Bruster’s has handled the ice cream, using peaches from Jaemor Farms.

Owners of antique cars and trucks are also invited to showcase their rides.

The BLT Luncheon originated upwards of 25 years ago with its namesake Jack McKibbon and fellow locals Howard Whelchel, Lee Martin, Brent Danneman, Howard Page, Joe Wyant and George Seelke. The friends hosted the event at a warehouse near Browns Bridge Road in Gainesville until 2016, when McKibbon announced its retirement.

In 2017, however, Peach State Bank & Trust took on the mantle to carry on the legacy — which is alive and well and still going strong.

Last year’s luncheon was the largest yet, Williams said, bringing close to 800 people. She anticipates Wednesday will draw crowds of similar size, though the prospect of rain may be a deterrent to some. 

“I think the key is the bacon — people come out for the bacon,” Williams said.

If rain does fall, large tents will be set up to keep the festivities dry, Williams said.

“It’s just a great community get-together,” Williams said. “Those hometown things are very important. It’s great that we’re growing (as a city), but we’ve still got to keep that small-town feeling.”

For more information, contact Peach State Bank & Trust at 770-536-1100.