A barbecue cook off will be part of the 2017 Mulberry Edamame Festival set for Saturday, April 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the city park.

Edamame Joe’s barbecue cookoff will feature local teams vying to see who has the best barbecue in the area, said Alma Area Chamber of Commerce Director Bryan Huff, who is helping organize this year’s festival.

Organizers decided to include the barbecue contest this year to draw visitors from outside Mulberry, Huff said.

“We thought it was a great addition to hopefully bring some new folks out to this year’s festival,” Huff said. “As of now, the Edamame Festival is the only local festival that has a competition like this.”

The first eight to 10 barbecue teams to register and pay the entry fee of $40 will be entered, said Monica Freeland with the Mulberry Mayor’s Office. Rules and entry forms are available at cityofmulberry.org or the Mulberry City Complex.

Tasting plates will be available to the public for $7 the day of the festival or $6 until March 24 from the Mulberry City Complex or Alma Area Chamber of Commerce office.

Visitors can sample each team’s barbecue as often as they like and vote for their favorite, Huff said.

Cash prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place, and there will be a $200 cash prize for “people’s choice.” The cook-off is being presented by Today’s Bank.

Festival goers also can taste edamame, listen to live music, ride a helicopter, enjoy the antique car and tractor show, and shop arts and crafts vendors, Freeland said. This is the fourth year for the festival.

This year, there also will be free live music on Friday night as the barbecue pit masters set up for the contest, Freeland said.

“Bring your lawn chair out and spend an evening relaxing with your friends and family,” Huff said.

Vendor spaces remain available, Freeland said. Craft and product vendors can go to cityofmulberry.org for applications.

Anyone interested in entering a team in the barbecue cook off or helping sponsor music on Friday night can email Huff at almachamber@gmail.com.