Island Time, a Jimmy Buffet tribute band, will bring the good vibes of Margaritaville to Lake Gaston.

Get ready to celebrate the first day of summer at the second Lizard Creek Jam & BBQ Battle Friday, June 21, and Saturday, June 22.

Festivities will be held at the Lake Gaston Lions Club site, 139 Stanley Rd. in Henrico, N.C., on Friday from 4:30 to 10 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Parking and gate entry for the festival grounds are behind the club building, and admission is $3 Friday for adults age 18 and older. The entry fee includes a souvenir cup and non-alcoholic beverage.

No outside food or beverage will be permitted.

Those attending should bring a favorite chair and plan to stay awhile in a shaded seating area. 

Food vendors galore will be on hand. The Lake Gaston Lions Club will operate two booths—a bar serving beer, wine and mixed beverages for those 21 and over with proper ID, and a booth with festival fried foods like Twinkies, Oreos, Snickers and funnel cakes. 

The Lake Gaston Regional Chamber of Commerce will be offering up a festival favorite—Buck-An-Ear Corn on the Cob—and Legless Lizard big dill pickles, as well as Leapin’ Lizard non-alcoholic punch. 

Also on site will be a BoJangles’ food truck, as well as french fries, onion rings, shrimp, sausage, chicken, fish, hot dogs, hamburgers, fresh pork rinds, sno cones and more.

Old-fashioned carnival-style games will provide a chance for festival-goers to win prizes, and for the first year, there will be a limited number of Lizard Creek Jam & BBQ Battle T-shirts sold. 

Other vendor booths will feature homemade jellies, nuts, snacks, vintage jewelry, art, crocheted and sewn items, purses, clothing and more.

Musician Larry Cox will open the Friday show from 4:45-5:45 p.m. with rock, country and Elvis favorites. 

The Jimmy Buffet tribute band Island Time from the Raleigh area will bring the good vibes of Margaritaville to Lake Gaston with favorite Buffet, beach and rock tunes from 6-10 pm. 

RE/MAX On The Lake is sponsoring free tethered hot air balloon rides, weather permitting, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. At seven stories tall, the RE/MAX hot air balloon grabs attention wherever it flies. As one of the largest fleets in the world, more than 120 hot air balloons in the world carry the distinctive red, white and blue RE/MAX trademark. Donations will be accepted for Children’s Miracle Network.


BBQ cook-off

Sixteen competition BBQ cooking teams will arrive on Friday from all over North Carolina to compete in the sanctioned contest, part of the statewide Whole Hog Barbecue Series. While attendees enjoy the music, they are encouraged to walk around and check out the teams’ BBQ cooking rigs. Pigs will be delivered at 9 p.m., and the 12-hour cooking process will begin.

Festival-goers should return on Saturday—no admission—from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. to the Lions Club front parking lot and clubhouse. In the parking lot, enjoy vendors and yard sales, as well as a Classic Car Cruise-In featuring the Stray Cats Hot Rod Association. 

Step inside the clubhouse to keep cool and enjoy BBQ plates, complete with baked beans, cole slaw and rolls, or purchase pints of BBQ, beans and slaw to take home. 

A drive-through will be provided for those who wish to buy plates or bulk items in a hurry. 

Dining in and drive-through will be open from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Those who dine-in can enjoy live music by trio Acoustic Edge. 

The BBQ awards will be presented at noon, starting with a flag ceremony and the singing of the National Anthem.

Purchase an exclusive Tasters’ Choice ticket, $10 each and sold in advance only, at the Chamber office and via lakegastonchamber.com, to be admitted to the event at 10:30 a.m. an hour before the event opens to the public, to taste each of the 16 BBQs, seasoned with each team’s special spices and sauces, and vote for a favorite for the Tasters’ Choice Award. These tickets are extremely limited.

Contact the Lake Gaston Regional Chamber of Commerce at 252-586-5711 or visit the Facebook page or website lakegastonchamber.com for more information on this two-day summer festival.