LEXINGTON, N.C. (WGHP) — The Lexington Barbecue Festival is back this year.

While it may be months away, organizers are already preparing so they have enough food, supplies and staffing to pull off the event.

Restaurant owners tell FOX8 they have enough people to cover their restaurants, but they need lots of volunteers to help with the festival. They want to make sure this huge event happens after a two-year hiatus during the pandemic.

“We’re trying to figure out how that day’s going to work for all of us,” said Cecil Conrad, owner of Bar-B-Q Center. “That may look a little differently on our end, but we’re still going to try to put out a great product for everybody.”

Bar-B-Q Center is almost fully staffed, which is a world of a difference from this time last year. For the 38th Lexington Barbecue Festival, he’ll need between 40 and 50 extra people to serve the crowds.

“We’re bringing an extra 200,000 people to town at different points through three days, so we have to be able to cover shifts to cover that amount of people,” he said.

People are not the only problem. Conrad said every week there’s a different item he has trouble finding.

“Paper products are out at different times,” he said. “We’ve had shortages of packing for bread. We’ve had trouble getting different types of bread. At one point in time, pork was in shortage.”

Those go-to staples in the barbecue business are especially important for the festival when people grab food and walk around to enjoy the vendors and live music.

“Prices are terrible,” said Lee Dunn, owner of Speedy’s BBQ. “All the supplies have doubled and tripled.”

Dunn has the same struggle. You’ll get a taste of it when you head to Uptown Lexington on Oct. 22 for the BBQ Festival. Some restaurants are raising prices as much as 10 percent.

“Cost of food is higher,” Conrad said. “Cost of gas is higher, so everything is going to be reflected in how we have to operate.”

Owners are also considering limiting the items they offer at their tents and getting creative with how they serve them.

“It could be anything from the barbecue to what we serve it on, including the bread and even trays,” Conrad said. “Please come. Please expect to have fun. But things will on our end be a little different.”

Owners are asking you be patient with them as they navigate these shortages.

Either way, they’re ready to make the 38th Barbecue Festival in Uptown Lexington one of the best.