FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) -- Jeff McCormick and Gene Hyser love to see people’s reactions to their barbecue.
“We give them a big nacho, they see how big it is, and they look at it like wow, you just see it in their face,” McCormick said. “I get a bigger kick out of that.”
The owners of McHyser’s BBQ in Columbia City will have plenty of opportunities to see those faces at their first BBQ Ribfest.
“We’re gonna have ribs, we’re gonna have quarter chickens, we do smoked macaroni and cheese, we do cole slaw, we do … little seasoned potatoes, we’ll be doing baked beans,” McCormick said.
Over the course of four days, organizers say they’re expecting 35,000 people to come through and get some barbecue.”
“People come in from all over. It’s crazy, it’s so much fun,” Ribfest co-executive producer Mark Chappuis said.
He said the festival will be following CDC guidelines.
“We’’ll have sanitizers and some things out and about throughout the plaza,” he said. “We space our tables quite ... vast anyway … so we don’t think that’s going to be much of a problem if people just use common sense.”
One staple of the event is the competition on Friday.
In addition to Indiana, teams will be coming from Ohio, Texas and South Carolina.
That’s not a concern for the McHyser crew.
“But once you get down here around all the people and you get talking to them … it’s the same thing we do so we’re not too worried about it,” McCormick said.
His co-owner agrees.
“You can’t lose when you get to this stage of the game,” Hyser said. “You can’t lose. Everybody’s here to put on a big party for everybody so we’re all winning the whole time.”