Welcome to magnoliareporter.com’s Guide to the 25th Annual Magnolia Blossom Festival and 24th Annual World Championship Steak Cook-Off.
Following is a summary of Saturday’s major events and activities. This column will be updated as new information becomes available throughout the week.
CRAFT SHOW AND SALE
Vendors from several states will be selling their hand crafted goods in the craft area along West Union Street starting at noon Friday.
All vendors will be opening around 8:30 a.m. Saturday.
There will also be several child-oriented play areas throughout this location.
TOM DEHONEY MEMORIAL BIG BASS TOURNAMENT
The Columbia County Bass Club sponsors the Tom DeHoney Memorial Big Bass Tournament from safelight to 2 p.m. Saturday at Lake Columbia’s North Shore Landing.
Take off positions will be determined by order of sign up. Entries will be accepted until 80 entries have been received. Entry fees become non-refundable after Wednesday. After 5 p.m. Friday, all registrations must be made at ramp.
Seven hourly prizes will be awarded, plus the grand prize for the largest bass of the tournament. Grand prize is $1,000.
Tournament headquarters will be at the North Shore Landing on Lake Columbia.
All tournament activities (check-in, take-off, weigh-in, etc.) will be conducted from that location.
All boats must be checked in and launched at the North Shore Landing to be eligible to participate in the tournament.
Boats must be checked in before 6 a.m. on the day of the tournament to participate.
Entry forms are available on-line at www.blossomfestival.org .
5K RACE and 1-MILE FUN RUN
The Magnolia Blossom Festival will have a 5K race and a 1-mile fun run. Numerous awards and prizes will be awarded to participants.
There will be no race day registration for this year's 5K Race-Walk. All participants must pre-register. Registration will close at noon Thursday.
The 5k Race/Walk starts at 7:30 a.m. The fun run starts as soon as possible after the last 5k walker crosses the finish line (approximately 8:30 a.m.)
As an added bonus, the first 200 Race/Walk entrants to register online will receive Swag Bags.
Online registration may only be used for the 5k Race/Walk. Fun Run entries must be mailed in or done in person.
CANINE FUN SHOW
Think you have the largest dog? Maybe you think your dog has the best trick in the county. Then enter that pooch in the 2013 Magnolia Blossom Festival dog show sponsored by the Columbia County Animal Protection Society and Ray & Associates.
The show will be held in the area north of Cecil Taylor Garden at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. There will be classes for biggest dog, smallest dog, cutest, best costume, best trick, shortest tail and for the dog that looks most like its handler. There will also be classes for dogs adopted from CCAPS (Such as most obedient, biggest, smallest and more).
There will be two divisions: One for adults 17 and older, and one for children 16 and younger.
All information is included on the entry form. Bring the completed entry form and entry fee to the Canine Fun Show on Saturday.
Participants may enter their dog in as many classes as they choose. There is a $7 fee for each class entered. Pet parade at the end of show is free.
Dogs will not be allowed in the festival area.
MAGNOLIA ARTS ANNUAL ART SHOW
This show was started in 1950 by Marjorie Chamberlain, a local art teacher, to display her students' paintings. The Sidewalk Art Show was the predecessor to the Magnolia Blossom Festival and the World Championship Steak Cook-Off.
The show was originally held on the sidewalks around the courthouse but was moved in 2012 to the new Magnolia Arts Center, 116 S. Washington just off the square.
Also taking place inside the Arts Center this year will be puppet shows for children sponsored by Magnolia Junior Charity League. The show times 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday. The show is “Sleeping Beauty.”
ANTIQUE CAR SHOW
This year’s Magnolia Blossom Festival Antique Car Show will be located on the grassy lot across from Farmers Bank. This is just off the east side of the square. It will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The event will be judged and trophies will be awarded for 1st and 2nd place. Categories to be judged will be announced later.
No pre-registration is required to enter the Antique Car Show. There is a $15 entry fee due the morning of the show.
PARADE OF STEAK COOKERS
The Parade of World Championship Steak Cook-Off Chefs begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at University Plaza Shopping Center. The cooks and their rigs will make their way along Main Street to the Columbia County Courthouse square to set up for the afternoon’s competition.
Cooking teams are also vying for the top prize in the Parade competition. Many of the teams will have elaborate floats and entertainment with which they hope to impress judges.
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STEAK COOK-OFF
The festival’s major event is the World Championship Steak Cook-Off. A record-breaking 87 cooking teams from eight states will compete for top prize money of $4,000, the Governor’s Cup and bragging rights.
The festival will serve about 3,500 steaks in 30 minutes.
Cook-Off tickets are $20 and will be available Saturday at the information booth on the east side of the square.
The World Championship Steak Cook-Off dinner includes a 16-ounce certified Angus beef ribeye, baked potato, salad, roll and drink.
ADVICE FOR NEWCOMERS
People who are new to the World Championship Steak Cook-Off are often mystified by how it “works.”
The most important thing to know is that you need a Steak Cook-Off ticket. They’re $20, and available at local banks, Jennifer’s on the square, and at the Magnolia-Columbia County Chamber of Commerce office through Friday. A limited number will be available for sale on Saturday at the Information Booth on the east side of the square. If tickets are sold out, you may be able to buy tickets that holders may return to the Information Booth late Saturday afternoon.
At 4 p.m. Saturday, the cooking teams will fire their grills and start cooking a pre-arranged number of steaks. At about the same time, the construction of five serving lines operated by employees of Albemarle Corporation, Commercial Metals, BancorpSouth, Farmers Bank & Trust and Peoples Bank will begin at locations around the square. Get one of the free cardboard serving tray and assemble it. Get in line with your ticket. You may want to bring a steak-cutting knife, lawn chair, non-alcoholic beverage, sunscreen, and an umbrella.
The serving lines open at 6 p.m. You will present the left half of your green ticket to the serving line and you’ll get everything you need BUT a steak.
Once you’ve left the serving line, go to any of the steak cooking teams and present the right half of your green ticket. The cooking team you select will give you a steak in exchange for your ticket. Find a place to sit, and enjoy.
What’s the best team from which to get a steak? In the hours before the competition begins, walk around the square and see which teams have trophies signifying past victories. Watch the teams prepare steaks. Both are good indications of which teams will grill a good steak.
Many of the steak cooking teams serve free appetizers to the crowd in the hours before the competition begins.
DRIVE-THROUGH LINE STEAK TICKETS
People who don’t want to stand in line for steaks will want to use the drive-through line located at First Baptist Church. Specify that you want drive-through tickets when you are buying tickets. These tickets ARE NOT interchangeable with the regular green-colored tickets. You won’t get to pick your steak, but the service is quick.
The Magnolia Blossom Festival Awards Ceremony will start at 7 p.m. on the main stage. Steak cooking teams are vying for awards and cash prizes in the Parade, Showmanship, Rig Construction and Steak divisions. Other awards and recognition are part of the ceremony. Lt. Gov. Mark Darr will present the Governor's Cup.
SATURDAY NIGHT CONCERT
The Beatles Tribute Band, Me and My Monkey will be the feature musical act of the 2013 Magnolia Blossom Festival and World Championship Steak Cook-Off on Saturday. The performance at the FB&T West Stage on West Main Street will be free and open to the public. It will start at approximately 8 p.m. following the steak cook-off awards presentation.
Bubba Thompson, CMT's star contestant from the hit show, "Sweet Home Alabama,” will be making an appearance once again for the 2013 Magnolia Blossom Festival World Championship Steak Cook-off. Bubba was one of our judges at the 2012 World Championship Steak Cook-off.
Scheduled times for autograph and photo opportunities will be announced.
JOHNSONVILLE BIG TASTE GRILL
The 53,000-pound, 55-foot Johnsonville Big Taste Grill will be at the Magnolia Blossom Festival on Saturday. The grill will be on the west side of the square.
The First Aid tent has been relocated for the 2013 festival. It will be near the Bell & Boyd Law Office on the northeast side of the square.
An information booth will be located on the east side of the square on Saturday. People may buy World Championship Steak Cook-Off tickets and Magnolia Blossom Festival merchandise at the information booth.