Jody Light, the organizer of the Almost Heaven BBQ Bash, set for June 15 and 16, briefed city officials and Councilman John Wyllie at an informational-only Weston City Council meeting Monday, May 15.
The meeting was forced to be an informal affair due to unforeseen circumstances preventing a quorum of council members. Mayor Julia Spelsberg said Councilman Justin Roy was on his honeymoon, and Councilman Eric Dever was stuck in traffic, due to an accident on Interstate-79.
“We have 61 registered pro teams for the BBQ Bash, and 20 of those are new,” Light said of the bash which she said has grown significantly from last year’s event.
Light noted that teams from 13 states had entered this year, including teams from as far away as Florida or Texas, and that the 100 judges for the event represent 18 states.
The number of artists and craft vendors for this year’s event has also grown due to strong public demand, Light said this year’s BBQ Bash will feature 33 vendors from four different states.
The number of food vendors has also increased with 16 vendors and four non-profits. Light noted that barbecue vendors were limited to those competing.
Light also announced two new events, including a wing contest and a steak cook-off. The wing contest currently has 23 registered teams. Wings for the contest will be provided by Pilgrim’s Pride from Moorefield. Wings made during the contest will be available for purchase after judging, Light added.
The steak judging contest is a unique event at the Almost Heaven BBQ Bash as it is open to the public. Light detailed the event, saying each participant will get to pick two steaks from a selection of United States Department of Agriculture Choice 1 1-8 inch steaks, and they will then cook those steaks and have them judged, with the winner taking home between $750 and $1,000 in prizes.
The event is even more unique because it allows the steak to be cooked by any means including using a gas grill, charcoal, or even on a George Foreman Grill. Light thanked A.F. Wendlings and National Beef for providing the steaks for the contest.
In other news, Weston Fire Chief Kenny James announced that the Weston Fire Department (WFD) would be participating in the FirstNet, the United States’ first nationwide public safety broadband network, which is run by AT&T.
James said the system would include emergency phones to the department, which would have priority on local networks in the event of an emergency, meaning that the WFD would be able to get important calls out during a disaster when phone networks are usually tied up. Another feature of the FirstNet program would be access to mobile cell towers, usable by both first responders and citizens, within 24 hours of a disaster.
Local resident Carmelo Fallo spoke briefly to those assembled about the Weston City Council’s recent support of the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum’s (TALA) application to grown and dispense medical marijuana.
Fallo was firmly against the request, saying the drug epidemic in Weston has ruined families and made her no longer feel safe in her own home.
Fallo further said she was worried about the element medical marijuana could possibly bring to Weston. No officials addressed Fallo openly, but Wyllie met with her privately after the 20-minute informal meeting.
“It was unfortunate that several of our City Council members were unable to make the meeting this month,” Spelsberg said. “We could not hold a formal meeting, but did have several people speak. We should be able to conduct business at our next meeting in June.”