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Organizers focus on security as visitors enjoy Barbecue contest

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — What started in the late 1970's in an empty parking lot has turned into one of the most prestigious barbecue contests in the world.

Memphis In May officials explain that while the event has evolved, so have their tactics for handling crowds and eliminating any potential danger.

"We take all of these components and we create a security plan. The production operations team has laid out a foot print that takes into consideration access controls, fire lanes and ways of maximizing crowd flow," Security Coordinator Anthony Davis said.

To put it simply, it takes a lot of manpower, including Homeland Security and the Coast Guard to make sure the event is set up for success and runs smoothly after.

Of course, crazy things to happen. And Memphis In May officials have tips for safely enjoying the event.

"Have common sense. Stow it, don't show it. Make sure you lock up your cars, roll up the windows and park in a visible location," Vice President of Marketing Robert Griffin said.

"Hydrate, because there are long walks here. It's always advisable to be in a group, so that way you can look out for each other," Davis said.

Attendance is expected to exceed the 75,000 people that were at the event in 2018. None of it would be possible without the behind-the-scenes work that is put in to make sure it runs without a hitch.

"Safety is 100 percent of our goal. We want people to come down and feel safe without an overburdened intrusive environment," Davis said.

Credit: Peter Fleischer 

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