The Seventh Annual Chillin & Grillin Festival didn't exactly go down without a hitch, but it was still one for the history books.
A frigid wave of winter weather brought the festivities to an early end, but the event also got started a day early. The Chamber of Commerce festival expanded to three days this year and added a carnival to the already busy schedule of activities.
Great Plains Amusement brought out classic carnival rides like the Tilt-A-Whirl, the Zipper, the Musik Express, a Ferris wheel, a merry-go-round and many other rides for both kids and adults.
Non-competition food vendors were on hand for the first time, feeding carnival-goers for the two days prior to the barbecue contest. Lee's Charburgers, 3 Feathers BBQ, Raphael's Southern BBQ, and Not Your Grandma's Cupcakes were all available, as were carnival classics like funnel cake, shaved ice, and chocolate-dipped cheesecake.
Student jazz bands from Mannford, Berryhill, and Charles Page High School provided the entertainment Thursday evening. Sand Springs local Jennifer Marriott headlined Friday and Midlife Crisis entertained on Saturday.
The Third Annual Harper's Hut Classic Car Show partnered with Chillin & Grillin for the second year and was a crowd favorite. Richard Blair's Ford pickup won Green Country Federal Credit Union Best In Show. Robert Chesney won the Women's Pick with a Ford Galaxy 500, Nicholas Hancock won the Men's Pick with a Chevy Nomad, and Robin Riley won the overall Chillin & Grillin Best in Show title with a 1958 Chevy Corvette.
The Kansas City Barbecue Society portion of the grilling competition was canceled this year, but the People's Choice Awards went unhindered. Keystone Chevrolet's "Smoking on the Line" team dethroned the defending champs from the Sand Springs Parks Department, who settled for runners-up.
2018 saw the festival's return to the newly renovated Case Community Park. Chillin was held at River City Park for its first five years, then moved to Pogue Airport last year while the park underwent a $6 million renovation and was renamed.