Zephyrhills Free Press

BBQ Blues

Pigz In Z’Hills delayed, Will get COVID-19 reboot

By Dave Walters

As a safety precaution due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 11th Annual Pigz in Z’Hills BBQ and Blues Festival, has been put on pause.

The event, slated for Feb. 27, will not go on as scheduled as the Greater Zephyrhills Chamber of Commerce and sponsors search for alternative way to host the event later in 2021. The Greater Zephyrhills Board of Directors met last week to discuss the event. After hearing from medical professionals and event partners, the board has determined to err on the side of caution and pause this event and look for ways to move forward with safety in mind.

“It was a very difficult decision and definitely not one anyone wanted to make. We felt strongly that it needed to be made,” said Chamber CEO Melonie Monson.

Monson said that vital information from officials at AdventHealth Zephyrhills, one of the event’s sponsors, played a key role in the decision. In addition, there was input from community business partners that guided the decision.

“This event can’t go on without sponsors and our sponsors asked us to err on the side of caution,” Monson said. “They felt strongly that we needed to get through this first quarter before we did any type of large gathering like what we planned.”

Monson said that the decision will come as a disappointment, not only to the competitors, exhibitors, and community, but it will also be a loss to the youth groups who rely on this funding for their organizations.

“Our top priority is the well-being of our employees, volunteers, competitors, exhibitors, and event attendees” said Monson. “This decision did not come lightly and will be a huge financial hit to our organization, but we feel strongly community safety should be paramount.”

In the coming weeks, the chamber will be exploring options to coordinate a fun and safe way to engage the community.

Monson said the event cannot take place too late in the year because a massive drop in attendance would cause a financial issue.

“We don’t want to lose the momentum of our event,” Monson said. “We don’t want to lose the fact this is our 11th event. We will revisit this after the new year about doing a drive-in BBQ and Blues where you drive in for your food and park and listen to the blues. We’ll see where we can go from there.

“We’re thinking outside the box and we’re trying to come up with a way to engage our community and keep the momentum going. Everybody is looking for something and this will give them something in a safe environment.”

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