The Almost Heaven BBQ Bash will be held in a new location starting next year. The event, which began in Buckhannon before moving to Lewis County, has been held at the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (TALA) for the past two years. Now, beginning in 2019, the bash will be located in the southern part of Lewis County, at Stonewall Resort.
Organizers of the event say it was a difficult decision to move once again, but believe this could have a positive impact on the BBQ Bash. They cited the reason for the move had to do with the weather always being unpredictable.
“Our initial concern in holding the event at the asylum was, and continues to be, the very real possibility of serious damage to this historic site’s beautiful lawn. Other BBQ events have experienced terrible weather and storms causing some event cancellations, and serious property damage costing thousands to repair,” said Jody Light, the Almost Heaven BBQ Bash Organizer.
“Stonewall Resort offers paved areas for teams, the use of their Roanoke multi-purpose building for crafters and judges, easy access in and out of the venue, and camp sites with 30 and 50 AMP power,” she continued.
The community reaction to this venue change seems to be split, with some saying they understand the need for the move, while others say they disagree with it.
“Right now I’m still up in the air about it. We liked being able to walk to the event and that it was free to just go and browse,” said local resident Chrissy Ice
“I think it’s a great move for it to expand the event, but I would have to see it first hand when it comes around,” she continued.
Other residents were not as open about the event moving, with many people stating they disagree with the entrance fee that the resort could potentially charge to attend.
“Most people walked to it and now everyone will have to drive out of town to attend, and pay a fee just to get in,” said local resident Bruce Heater.
Heater also spoke of his concern about how this may hurt the local economy if those who are competing in the bash don’t come into town for food or lodging.
“The people competing are more likely to pay for a camping spot or get a room at the Resort. Chances are they’re not going to drive into town for a motel or food,” he continued.
Light addressed comments like Heater’s, which were echoed on social media, saying the event will still have an impact on the Weston/Lewis County economy, with many people traveling in from out of town wanting to see what else the county has to offer.
When asked for a comment on the event moving to a different location, Rebecca Jordan- Gleason, the operations manager for TALA said “We hope they have another outstanding event. We don’t want Weston to be upset with them because the asylum intends to add an event around that same time period. We hope that Weston will show our new event as much support.”
The 5th-Annual Almost Heaven BBQ Bash will be held June 7-8, 2019.