Few things bond people together better than food, and few foods are more synonymous with American culture than barbecued meats over a hot grill in the middle of summer.

With that in mind, the Woodburn Firehouse Cook-off offers some of the best barbecue cuisine that can be found in Marion County. The sixth annual event will descend on Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm this Saturday with a delicious array of barbecued chicken, pork and beef for event-goers to feast upon in the name of good food and a good cause.

For a scant $12 entrance fee, the amount of a small pizza, anyone is welcome to a seemingly endless smorgasbord of fine food from more than a dozen local barbecue masters, all while listening to good music and socializing with friends and community members from the surrounding area.

The competition pits chefs against each other in five categories: best pork, chicken and beef barbecue, people’s choice and an overall grand champion.

Last year’s event was blessed with beautiful weather, and if Mother Nature holds true again, this year’s Cook-off will be even better.

Broken down into a ratio of meat-consumed-per-dollar-spent, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a better deal in Marion County. And since proceeds go to benefit local charities — last year the Cook-off raised $10,000 for charities such as Woodburn FFA and Woodburn Rotary — every juicy piece of meat you eat is like an edible donation to a worthwhile organization dipped in sweet, tangy barbecue sauce.

So do yourself a favor. Bring a friend. Bring two. And saunter down toward Meridian Road on Saturday afternoon for a chance to experience wonderful people cooking wonderful food, and it’s all for a wonderful cause.

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