Walton County’s premier BBQ Festival returns March 9

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The annual Walton County BBQ Festival returns for its fifth year on March 9, again sponsored by Walton EMC. The proceeds from this event benefit Communities In Schools of Walton County. Be sure to mark your calendars for the best food fest for BBQ cooks and connoisseur alike. And if you consider yourself a backyard BBQ king, you can put your skills to the test in the Amateur BBQ Cook-Off. Local grillers can enter the contest to see who has the best backyard grilling skills. Click or tap on this link for all the information on the 2019 Walton County BBQ Fest.

You’re invited to bring the family to Criswell Park in Monroe between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday for a fun time of food, music and a full line up of entertainment. There will be an expanded children’s area with super-sized inflatables, Spider Jump, Rock Wall, games and more. Local BBQ restaurants and caterers will offer plates and a la carte items for sale as they compete for the People’s Choice award. Peoples Choice Tickets will be sold in packages of 5 for $3 and these tickets can be redeemed at any BBQ vendor for a bite-sized sample of barbecue and you can then vote for your favorite. There also will be other vendors supplying favorites such as lemonade, kettle corn, baked goods, corn dogs and more. More than 50 vendors will be on hand selling

The Walton EMC Walton County BBQ Festival is the signature fundraiser each year for CIS Walton. Anglea Yarman, director of CIS Walton, provided details on what makes this program so essential to students in the local community.

“The money raised helps fund important programs that help students from schools across Walton County to stay in school and go on to successful lives,” she said.

Some of the ways they do this is by placing a placing a trained CIS member in each of the schools to help connect students and families with the resources in the community to help them succeed. In the 2017/2018 school year alone more than 8,500 students were helped with school-wide programs and 369 students received one-on-one support to ensure a successful school year. These programs included: the Choice Bus, Backpack Buddies from Faith in Serving Humanity (FISH), and Fill the Bus to ensure they have the school supplies they need. Site coordinators also arrange Apply to College days, Red Ribbon weeks, career days, field trips, guest speakers, assemblies and other services to keep students on a healthy path to success. Of the students targeted at risk and brought into the program for one-on-one mentoring, 92 percent stayed on track and either went on to graduate or were promoted to the next grade level and 98 percent of them stayed in school or graduated.

This program has an estimated economic impact to Walton County of more than $38 million in such things as recovered wages and saved publicassistance, accordingg to studies per the National Dropout Prevention Center.

To find out more about CIS, visit www.ciswalton.org.

For more information on success stores as a result of the services provided by CIS of Walton County, click or tap on this story in last summer’s issue of Walton Living Magazine,

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