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Pigz In Z’hills BBQ & Blues Fest Receives Regional Recognition Puts Zephyrhills and Pasco County In Spotlight

Posted on Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 11:32 am

The Greater Zephyrhills Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber’s innovative signature event Pigz in Z’Hills BBQ & Blues Fest was recognized by the Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture and Arts (TBBCA) at the TBBCA’s annual gala and Impact Awards Banquet October 23, 2014 at The Vinoy Renaissance in St. Petersburg. The Chamber was one of six finalists for the 2014 Impact Awards in the non-profit category. Other finalists were the Capitol Theatre, Glazer Children’s Museum, Hillsborough Community College Ybor City Campus, Tampa Bay Arts & Education Network, and The Margaret Acheson Stuart Society. Some 300 business and community leaders from around Tampa Bay attended the event. Attending on behalf of the Zephyrhills Chamber were Executive Director Vonnie Mikkelsen, board members Rebecca Gaddis and Tim Linville, Pasco Tourism Director Ed Caum and Co-directors from the Suncoast Arts Festival Pam Marron and Marj Golub.

Pam Marron of the Suncoast Arts Festival and the Chamber’s partner for the 2015 Pasco Weekend of the Arts nominated the Zephyrhills Chamber and the BBQ & Blues Festival. Both festivals were also awarded a VisitFlorida Grant earlier in the summer to promote the Pasco Weekend of the Arts held January 17-18 in conjunction with both festivals’ milestone anniversaries – the 5th annual BBQ & Blues (January 17th) and the 10th Annual Suncoast Arts Festival (January 17th – 18th.) This is the first time any Pasco County event has been nominated for the award.

All finalists were given recognition during the award presentations. Fox 13 Anchor Russell Rhodes emceed the event and showed lively enthusiasm for the name as he read from script saying, “…I love this name…Pigz in Z’Hills BBQ & Blues Festival…the only festival of its kind in Pasco County (has brought a unique) musical experience to a community where few cultural outlets previously existed.”

“This recognition belongs to the volunteers, the visionary leaders and community-minded businesses who have backed this event and put in the sweat equity and service hours to make BBQ & Blues what it is today,” said Vonnie Mikkelsen, Chamber Executive Director. The event is Pasco County’s largest stage dedicated to Blues music, is the only sanctioned BBQ contest in the county, and touted as one of the best BBQ contests in the State by professional and amateur teams on the Florida BBQ Association competition circuit. Since its inception the event has raised $70,000 for local youth groups, community services and scholarships. The Chamber plans to fund two new scholarships one for performing arts and one for culinary arts students at the conclusion of this year’s event.

The 5th Annual Pigz in Z’Hills BBQ & Blues will be held Saturday, January 17, 2015 from 10am-6pm at the Zephyrhills Municipal Airport. Folks are invited to fly in, drive in, or bus in. Sponsors, Vendors, Business Expo, BBQ Teams and Volunteers are invited to sign up early as space is limited. Information on the event can be found at or by calling the Chamber office: (813) 782-1913 or emailing:

The TBBCA Impact Award is based on demonstrated impact in recent years to Tampa Bay’s quality of life through innovative arts programming, outstanding business practices, and/or neighborhood revitalization. Some 250 business and community leaders from around Tampa Bay attended the 25th annual gala event. The TBBCA created the Impact Awards in 1989 to recognize and honor business support of the arts. Since that time, the awards program has grown to include honors for area businesses, individuals and nonprofit organizations.

The Greater Zephyrhills Chamber of Commerce advances economic growth and prosperity in our community.

The Chamber of Commerce is incorporated in the State of Florida as a 501(c) 6 non-profit organization. We are a membership-based association of businesses, organizations and individuals working together to preserve and continually enhance the quality of life in the community of Zephyrhills and surrounding area of East Pasco County. We promote a vibrant and active business climate supporting economic growth through leadership and active involvement by our membership.