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Amelia Beef Festival


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I told some people about it at the picnic and thought I'd share what I know about it on here.

Amelia, Virginia, is a quiet mostly rural county southwest of Richmond, Virginia, about 2.5 hours from NoVA. If coming from Richmond, it's just past Chesterfield County down route 360. My parents have lived down there for about 4 or so years now - it's actually still growing, become more of a suburb of Richmond.

Every summer they have the Amelia Beef Festival. It can be hard to find information about it online (and I don't have a link currently but will try to find one later) and I don't have the pamphlet in my hand so I will do my best to pass on accurately what I remember about it and will update as I get confirmations.

This year it should be on July 26th, 2008 - a Saturday. It's in the late afternoon/early evening and goes for a few hours.

Basically, you pay one price - $20-25, I believe - and it's all you can eat beef and corn and all you can drink beer.

The beef is done several different ways. There are steamhouse sandwiches (prime rib, basically, if I remember correctly, and often the only food that will have a significant line), ribs, and more that I'm blanking on. There's roasted corn on the cob by the bushel, with plenty of butter, and Budweiser has a two-three trucks with a number of taps. There's one or two bands playing at any one time, too, as the whole thing just takes place in a big ole field.

There's usually lines for food and beer right at the beginning but after people get their initial load I've never had a problem just walking up and grabbing whatever I wanted without a wait. People usually bring chairs and blankets, scout out a spot, and relax.

It rains every year I've gone. There's no appreciable shelter. The first year it was just a light sprinkle, enough to make it hard to keep the cigars going. Last year it absolutely poured down the rain. The lightweights leave when that happen. The rest of us had a GREAT time. You can only get but so wet.

(Umbrellas are for beer, not you! The beer's already watered down enough, it is Bud! :lol: :lol: )

Anyways, as I've told people, it's a great time. I'm lucky because my 'rents live down there, so the lot of us crash with them, so I couldn't tell you what the hotel situation is like - but I'd be happy to check on it if anyone is interested.

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This sounds like an excellent roadtrip-all you can consume beef & beer, this is something to plan a weekend around... My own hometown food festival is the Sneads Ferry (NC) shrimp festival, usually held the first weekend in August. One price gets you shrimp, hushpuppies, fish stew, but the beer is NOT included!

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This was my third year going to the beef festival and the first time there wasn't a drop of rain. In fact, it was a particularly beautiful day for Amelia - not that hot, and better yet, not that humid.

The festival runs from 4 PM to 8 PM. We got there shortly after 4 PM and the crowd was already getting thick with the first of two bands blasting away. We set up our blanket and chairs and without hesitation jumped in line for the first beer.

This year there were only two beer trucks (down from three last year) and the closest one (to us) would only allow you to grab one beer at a time, no matter how much you pleaded that your mom was really thirsty and honestly, she's standing right over there. The further away truck would allow multiple beers but both trucks had enormous lines the entire time - which many people circumvented by just walking up to the front of and grabbing a non-lite beer. (It only took once or twice to figure that out if you were willing to drink something like Michelob Amberbock - all the beer there is Budweiser.)

The food, on the other hand, had much shorter lines this year than the previous years. We were sitting right near the Steamship Round sandwich tent - with something like six serving lines at times, it was "walk right up", grab your sandwich, put on a squeeze of horseradish mayo and enjoy. The sandwiches were fine, if you could get enough meat on it - my first one was a bit light on that regard and I'd wished I'd gotten two and just combined the meat, as the bun was a bit overwhelming.

The ribs were better than last year, I thought. The bones slipped right out of the meat with just the slightest tug, sometimes a bit too easily, and I avoided extra sauce as there was the perfect amount on them to begin with. Sure, it made a mess, but they were delicious.

I managed to miss the brisket (oops) and the corn on the cob was once again abundant and tasty. The guys making it showed my neighbor how they did it - something about grilling it, and then putting it in the fridge, or some stuff like that. I was busy with my beer and a Rocky Patel sungrown cigar, so I kept getting distracted by the ... characters ... that come to the festival.

They kept serving even past 8 PM, but finally we took our leave and headed home for more cigars, a soak in the hot tub, and more beer. But for $25, even with the drive, you just can't beat the fun and value.

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