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BBQ Festival At South Salem Church Draws Crowd

Antoneos Kalmanidis making some of his famed pulled pork. Photo Credit: Sam Barron
Rich Vazanna of VS Promotions helped organize the event. Photo Credit: Sam Barron
Michael Barry said the event was a way to show off the church. Photo Credit: Sam Barron
Matthew and Jennifer Barry were raising awareness for leukodystrophy. Photo Credit: Sam Barron
The Archieres were raising awareness for a rare autoimmune disease. Photo Credit: Sam Barron

SOUTH SALEM, N.Y. -- The smell of BBQ was in the air at Stevens Memorial United Methodist Church on Shady Lane in South Salem Saturday.

A BBQ festival and country fair brought many to South Salem to sample ribs, pulled pork, ride a mechanical bull or learning ways  they can help raise awareness for ailments. Proceeds from the event went to the church will distribute the money to other charities.

The second day of the festival is on Sunday. 

Organizer Rich Vazzana of Ridgefield-based VS Promotions said he is anticipating 1,000 people will attend each day of the festival.

Vazzana said his favorite BBQ is wet sauce.

"I love putting it on baby back ribs," Vazzana said.

Pastor Michael Barry said he was thrilled with how things were going. 

"We had a vision of this," Barry said. "It's a wholesome event for the whole family and it gives us a chance to show off our hospitality. We are real blessed to have this partnership with Rich. We are hoping to make this is a yearly event."

Barry's daughter Jennifer was raising awareness for leukodystrophy, which afflicts Matthew, Michael's son and Jennifer's brother.

Leukodystrophy is the degeneration of white matter in the brain.

"September is Leukodystrophy Awareness Month," Jennifer Barry, who is a fan of pulled pork, said. "We have been raising awareness all month."

The Archiere's were at the event to raise awareness for their son Joe, who suffers from autoimmune cerebellitis, a disease so rare, Joe is one of only six people in the world afflicted.

"Community events like this are the best way for us to get our message out," Patty Archiere said. "The more people that know about it, the more people can lend their support."

Archiere, whose family initially lived in Danbury, said she loves ribs.

Antoneos Kalmanidis, a chef in Wilton, was serving pulled pork.

"We cook and graze the pork for 13 hours," Kalmanidis, who makes his own BBQ sauce,  said. "We marinate it for 24 hours. It's one of our specialties."


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