BRITT | Tents, lawn chairs and smokers dotted Main Avenue South and Veterans Memorial Park in Britt Saturday, Sept. 23, as grillers prepared their meat for the fourth annual Chillin' and Grillin' event.

The event, which featured the Ron Eisenman Britt BBQ competition and a performance from the Kraft Brothers, garnered its largest attendance since it began despite a change in location and uncharacteristically scorching fall weather, said Travis Hagen, event organizer.

“It was our best year so far,” he said. “Every year it's grown a little bit.”

The event kicked off with the two-division barbecue competition, which was in its fourth year as a competition and its third as a memorial event for Ron Eisenman, who died in a grain bin accident in 2014.

Hagen said 14 individuals, or teams, participated in the pork loin competition, and 12 of them competed in the open division that required the cooking of any dish featuring pork.

First-, second- and third-place finishers in each division were selected by separate five-judge panels. Hagen said members of Eisenman’s family judged the pork loin competition, and local celebrities judged the open division.

Donald Kirsch and the John Madson family finished first in the pork loin competition and Brent McNeese earned first place in the open division for biscuits and gravy. Second and third place in pork loin were Vance and Mariah Hagen and Blake Hoover, respectively. Second and third place in the open division were Donald Kirsch and the John Madson family and Keith Heimer, respectively.

After the competition, the Kraft Brothers, sponsored by the Britt Chamber of Commerce, performed and 5 Alarm Brewing Co. of Lake Mills held a beer-tasting, which Hagen said was “a nice, different twist” for the event.

“I was very happy [with the turnout],” he said. “We will continue to try and make sure it’s fun, that’s the key thing, so people can come out and enjoy the town and see how nice people are in our community.”

The barbecue competition and concert has historically been held at City Park, but due to a scheduling conflict with a wedding, the Britt City Council approved the closing of Main Avenue South from First Street Southwest to Second Street Southwest for the event.

Hagen said the event will return to City Park in 2018.

“We have it booked right now,” he said.

The 2018 Chillin’ and Grillin’ event will take place Saturday, Sept. 22.

Reach Reporter Ashley Stewart at 641-421-0533. Follow her on Twitter at GGastewart.

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