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Battle of the bands, BBQ grillers Saturday
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LATHROP ­— The battle for the world’s best barbecue grillers is on this Saturday at the Lathrop Valverde Park.

The competition, which had its modest maiden launch last year, is even bigger and better this year, according to Christopher Lawrence, Lathrop Senior Center director. That’s because, while the top billing belongs to the grillers, there will be plenty of attractions of the gastronomical kind as well, plus a plethora of musical and other attractions for the whole family.

There will be “a bunch of bands” that will be playing during the event that will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Lawrence said, with the Mike Torres Band as the headliner. Additionally, there will be a “teen battle of the bands” with the top winner to be awarded “two hours of recording time” in Mike Torres Jr.’s studio.

Other attractions will include a canine demonstration featuring two police officers and two police dogs. For the young ones, there will be bouncing houses for them to enjoy.

A variety of informational booths such as one by the Department of Aging will be available as well, and a teen art show will be on display in front of the Senior Center.

There are 16 grillers already signed up for the barbecue competition, three more than last year’s contestants. But they are still accepting entrants, Lawrence said.

Entrance fee for the competition is $45 for those who want to compete in both the chicken and rib categories; $25 for just chicken and $30 for a rack of ribs. The chicken and ribs will be part of the entry fee. All that the contestants need to bring are their grills and charcoal.

Admission is free for anyone who wants to come and join the fun.

“There’s something for everyone,” Lawrence said.

There will be concession stands offering meals with prices ranging from $4 to $8 or $9, he added. All proceeds will benefit senior programs.

Among this year’s barbecue judges are representatives of the event’s sponsors such as Famous Dave’s Barbecue, Allied Waste and Walgreens, and city notables that include City Manager Cary Keaten and former two-time mayor Bennie Gatto. Judging will take place inside the Senior Center. Judging will take place from 1 to 2 p.m.

For more information on how to sign up for the barbecue competition or about any of the day’s attractions, call 941-7380.