Barbecue Festival in Lexington postponed as community faces shortage of supply, labor

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LEXINGTON, N.C. (WGHP) — The Barbecue Festival in Lexington has been postponed.

The City of Lexington announced the news Friday.

Multiple barbecue restaurants said that, because of a shortage in supply and labor as well as rising COVID-19 cases, they could not participate.

“Lexington has grown so much over the years because of the festival,” said Michael Conrad, owner of Bar-B-Q Center. “We need to do it right, we don’t want to tarnish the festival at all”

He explained staffing has been a challenge at the restaurant. If volunteers have to quarantine, he worries there wouldn’t be enough.

“We don’t know day to day how many people we’re going to have at the restaurant, so imagine 35 volunteers and those volunteers we get those in groups,” Conrad said.

The restaurant is also dealing with supply chain issues, from Styrofoam cups to food supplies.

“Things are out of stock every day on our invoices, we don’t know if we’ll be able to get these products when the time comes,” Conrad said.

“Plus the prices. Prices have probably doubled on everything and that makes it tough for us but we’re trying to hang in there and do what we can,” said Roy Dunn, owner of Speedy’s Barbecue.

Organizers hope to host other smaller events instead.

“Since we didn’t have it last year I just hope people will continue to be excited about it, maybe next year we can start all over again,” said Lexington resident Patti Smith.

After 18 long months, Erica Schott said people were looking forward to celebrating.

“(It) would have been good to have back in the community, would have brought a lot of events, people from out of state so they can really see what this town’s about, would have been really good to have it back,” she said.

The festival director said this was not an easy decision, and officials, sponsors and festival restaurants have been talking for weeks.

The next festival will be held Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022.

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