Inaugural BBQ at Watermelon Shed a hit - - Columbia, South Carolina

Inaugural BBQ at Watermelon Shed a hit

(Columbia) Jan. 16, 2003 - The Watermelon Shed at the state Farmers Market where Governor Mark Sanford held his inaugural barbecue was filled with people Wednesday night. About 5500 attended the event from 6-10pm, and most said they were happy with the toned-down celebration Sanford chose in favor of a glitzy ball.

Sanford greeted his guests by reiterating his inaugural address, "Thank you all for being here. Thank you for being a part of this larger message of change that we're going work very hard on over the next four years."

People were dressed very casually, most in jeans or khakis and sweaters. Bands played beach music on stage and the dance floor was filled with couples dancing and children playing.

Inaugural barbecue vendors:

BlackJack Barbecue, Charleston
Brushy Creek Bar-B-Q, Piedmont
Charleston Bay Gourmet, Mt. Pleasant
Eddie's Bar-B-Q, Turbeville
Gene's Capital Catering, Irmo
Mac's on Main, Columbia
Hudson Bar-B-Q, West Columbia
Kenny's Bar-B-Que, Hemingway
Mama Brown's BBQ, Mt. Pleasant
Shealey's Bar-B-Que House, Batesburg-Leesville
Sticky Fingers Catering, Columbia
The Hickory Hawg, Johns Island
Big T's Bar-B-Q, Columbia
Spartanburg Meat Processing Co., Spartanburg
Gene Springfield with Capital Catering was one of more than a dozen barbecue experts around the state selected to serve up a first of its kind inaugural celebration, "Everybody is having a blast. That's what it should be."

Former University of South Carolina professor John Safko says the barbecue is a good indication of the kind of governor Sanford may be. Safko says Sanford is concerned with the populous, not just the money people.

John Rainey is the Inaugural Committee Chairman and says inauguration day is being funded through ticket sales to the inaugural barbeque, "So, from the church service all the way through the end of the BBQ, we will be financing this thing through $50 a ticket."

Political observers say that having an inaugural barbecue, instead of a ball, makes good sense in these difficult economic times. But some supporters say it means more than that. Tot Kennedy, of Chester, says she thinks Sanford is just down to earth.

Jo Darby, of Chester, said she was not disappointed that she could not wear a ball gown. She was dressed comfortably in a blazer and pants. Darby says she felt at home.

The entire inauguration day is expected to come in around $250,000. Governor Beasley's inauguration cost $700,000.

updated 8:27am by Chris Rees with AP

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