Network chooses Conway festival for TV pilot

This year's St. Nicholas BBQFest at St. Paul's Church in Conway will be filmed as the pilot episode for a new BBQ series known as "Holy Smokers" scheduled to air on national cable TV.

The series will appear on Discovery's network channel, "Destination America", known for shows such as "BBQ Pitmasters", "The United States of Bacon", "Beautiful Backyards", "Buying Alaska" and many others centering on unique destinations throughout America.

Preliminary location filming by NYC-based production company Loud Television, which specializes in innovative lifestyle and food programming, began early in October centering on Conway's historic downtown, its riverfront and St. Paul's Church.

"We are currently in the midst of creating an exciting new pilot called "Holy Smokers", said Grant McGahuey, Supervising Producer for the show.

"Holy Smokers" will focus on the fun and the competitive tradition of the classic church cook off, an event that brings communities and congregations together in the name of faith and great food. The St. Nicholas BBQFest is one of several events that has been handpicked for inclusion," he continued.

"We believe the world of church cook-offs is unique and special and we want to share it with viewers everywhere," said McGahuey.

Now in its 9th year, the St. Nick BBQFest, originally known as Winterfest, raises funds to support numerous community service organizations within the Conway area providing in excess of $25,000 to local community service agencies.

This year's event will open on the night of November 14 with the Taste of Conway. Held at the Peanut Warehouse on Conway's riverfront, the event will feature 17 local restaurants serving entrees, desserts, appetizers and pub grub and competing for bragging rights and trophy awards. Attendees will vote for the Peoples Choice award for overall favorite while other award winners will be selected by professional chefs.

On Saturday, November 16, the St. Nicholas BBQFest, slated from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at the Conway riverfront, will include over 100 vendors featuring in addition to BBQ, baked goods, jewelry, arts and crafts and other merchandise.

While St. Paul's Church provides the organizational leadership and most of the volunteers to staff BBQFest, additional financial and product/services support comes from area business sponsors including Burroughs Company, Carolina Cool, WPDE NewsChannel 15, City of Conway, Waccamaw Publishers, Duplicates Ink, HTC, and Marketing Strategies Inc., as well as other local businesses and individuals.