The Gautier Pig Out Bar-B-Que kicked off in Jackson County Saturday. The event was almost alcohol-free until a Gautier City Council vote this week. The vote allowed barbecue-ers to bring beer to the city-sponsored event.
Thousands of barbecue-ers gathered at the Pig Out in Gautier eating and drinking in the sun. While beer was flowing freely at most tents, just a few days ago, the city council had a problem with alcohol even being allowed at all.
"Well, a lot of people don't see it as a family event when there's alcohol being served, but at the same time, many of the events that we have alcohol," said Tony Best, a policeman."The difference here is the perception that the city is behind it and endorsing it."
But barbecue-ers say having alcohol at a barbecue should not have been an issue for the city council to worry about.
"The alcohol has been an issue supposedly for the council," said Tony Toncrey of Pascagoula. "I really don't feel like it's going to affect the people here."
Other barbecue-ers, like Michael Moore of Pascagoula, said allowing beer brings in a lot more people.
"You get a lot more mixed crowd and people that come out and partake in the festivities," said Moore.
But beer drinkers, like Joe Pierce of Gautier, said anyone over 21 should be able to drink beer while cooking out. He said that's why the police are on-hand.
"If anybody gets drunk, we have plenty of people here at the sheriff's department to handle it," said Pierce.
Since this is the first year for the Gautier Pig Out, many people at the event said the important part of the Pig Out is not drinking at all. It's about comradery and competing in the barbecue contest.
"This is really a positive event for the community," said Toncrey. "I'm really glad to see it here, and I hope it will be here next year."