Growing Baldwin Co. schools get donations through BBQ & Blues Cook-Off


-- As the county and student population continues to grow, local organizations are using community events like the Barbecue & Blues Cook-Off to support educational programs.

More than a thousand people turned out Saturday at Heritage Park for the sights, sounds and food at the Barbecue & Blues Cook-off in downtown Foley.

Cooking teams competed for bragging rights as Blues bands took to the stages.

Folks in attendance gathered at Arts and Crafts vendors and children's activities kept kids busy.

Rich Caldwell, event chairman, says the cook-off enjoyed one of its most successful years.

"It was a really good event. It was $10 admission and I'm sure every bit of it was worth it," said Caldwell.

Every cent of the admission goes toward a good cause.

Proceeds went toward the South Baldwin Chamber Foundation, which donates the funds to Foley High School and its feeder schools in nearby cities.

"We use it in student teacher grants and different things like that so that we can really help our local school feeder pattern grow," Caldwell said.

To keep up with the growth, the Baldwin County School Board announced a new Elberta High School, which is meant to take pressure off Foley High School.

The project will begin with high school classrooms built onto the middle school and eventually, an entirely new high school building will be built on 38 acres of land off County Road 83.

As the county and student population continues to grow, officials say the need for community support is greater than ever.

"The kids are the workforce of tomorrow, so it's great to get them involved as a whole. The retirees, the locals, and the kids that will be coming up into the work force. So these events bring all of them together," said Rachel Spear, events director for the South Baldwin Chamber Foundation.

The South Baldwin Chamber Foundation also gave out several thousand dollars worth in grants to area schools at the event.