Serious barbecue

Florence Unified School District Superintendent Chris Knutsen plans to be part of the inaugural “Showdown on Main-Pitmaster Challenge” Oct. 1-2 in downtown Florence.

FLORENCE — The inaugural “Showdown on Main-Pitmaster Challenge,” featuring more than 20 professional barbecue teams, will be held Oct. 1-2 in downtown Florence.

Visitors will have an opportunity to meet professional pitmasters, watch them work and sample competition-level barbecue. Tasting tickets will be for sale for $2 each for a 2-ounce serving. There will be food trucks, live music, a beer garden and performances by local students.

The event will begin from 6-9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1, with live bands performing. The event resumes at 10 a.m. the next day. Florence Unified School District students will perform music and dance and present artwork and STEM projects (science, technology, engineering and math) from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

A barbecue awards ceremony will be held at 4 p.m. and live bands will play from 5 to 9 p.m. to conclude the event. Proceeds will benefit the Florence Friends of Kids First Foundation, which supports students and school staff in many ways that can’t be done with state funding.

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Mark Cowling is the county reporter for PinalCentral and covers the town of Florence, San Tan Valley and the surrounding area. He can be reached at mcowling@pinalcentral.com.