Southern Roots Reunion: Third Annual BBQ Fundraiser at Trailblazer Park on April 20

“At the end of the day, this reunion is a personal cause,” founder Geoff Rhyne begins our conversation.

Of course, I think that’s the best place to start. The WHY behind something as big as the third annual Southern Roots Reunion happening April 20 from 12 to 4 at Trailblazer Park in Travelers Rest.

Because aren’t all of our causes personal?

And yet, it’s at that exact point when the personal cause becomes a public cause that we all have the chance to practice what TR does best through community – helping one another push through challenges.

Geoff and his wife have three children and his youngest, daughter Ella Marie, has a rare genetic disorder called Kleefstra Syndrome. First diagnosed at fifteen months old, Ella Marie has struggled to meet health and growth milestones. Currently there is no cure. The Rhyne family has made it their mission to help Ella and other children with similar issues through awareness and fundraising for medical research.

Geoff actually owns a hot sauce company – Red Clay Hot Sauce – and has a history in the restaurant industry as a chef. Through conversations with good friends, the idea of a BBQ Reunion was born three years ago. “We just wanted to pull people together – behind the scenes people too. From the folks who raise the pig to the folks who grow the collards,” Geoff says. And with all that pulling together and big idea dreaming, Southern Roots Reunion was born. each year it has steadily improved and solidified into the spring event of the season!

It’s going to be an incredible day of delicious food – and LOTS of it – and music and vendors and good company.

If you had the pleasure of attending the last few years then you know it’s an incredible day. It’s also a delicious day. And a fabulous way to spend a Saturday with your friends from far and near. The music is great, the vibe is welcoming and fun – and cozy too. Lots of places to sit and recline are available and spread through the open field, plus feel free to bring your own picnic blanket and set up a spot where you can call home base to listen and lounge and to drink and dine all day.

From 12 to 4 on April 20 at Trailblazer Park, you show up with your family and your friends and literally everything else is taken care of.

Your ticket covers everything – all the food and drinks your heart desires, and your stomach can handle. (And likely a little more than that too.) And the money is going to this important cause, not just for Geoff and his family, but for the entire rare disease community. The chefs and pit masters are all volunteering their time and resources and it takes a whole lotta love and hard work to pull an event of this magnitude off.

It’s not called a reunion for nothing, all the restaurants, farmers, chefs and musicians are pulling together their collectives strengths and skills to create a one of kind experience.

You’ll find over 35 pit masters and chefs all teaming up – among them folks like Henry’s Smokehouse, Broadwater Shrimp Supply, Rad Dad’s BBQ, Home Team BBQ, Oak & Honey, The Anchorage, Camp, Swig & Swine and Rick Erwin’s Dining Group. Alongside these champs are local favorite and award winning chefs like Adam Cooke of Topsoil Restaurant and Haydn Shaak of Restaurant 17. It is a star-studded line up for sure with folks who know how to make it all delicious.

And that’s just a portion of the list!

It takes a lot of work and effort and planning to pull off an event like this. And – it takes YOU! All that BBQ is best enjoyed and appreciated. Those songs need an audience and those chefs need folks like you and me saying, “Job well done. I’ll have another!” And, most importantly, that research needs to be funded and hope and light need to be fanned to be kept alive.

Isn’t it good fortune when we get to participate in that kindness and support via delicious food and great community and an afternoon in one of our favorite places at Trailblazer Park?

Read more about Southern Roots Reunion on their website here.

Listen to Geoff chat with Brandon Timms and I on the We Are TR podcast.

Follow the Southern Roots Reunion page on IG to see updates and details here.

There are several sets of tickets available – from general admission to VIP to VIP Tables of Four and Eight. Find ALL of the options right here. Plus – this year if you are a TR local, you get a special local reduced rate! (You can see this in the drop down menu linked above.)

Your VIP tickets include early entrance for an Oyster Roast starring Sushiyama and Scoundrel and a few more fabulous names, plus a private lounge area and exclusive bites from John Lewis of Lewis Barbecue and special pours just for you. You also receive onsite parking!


by Lacey Eibert Keigley

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