Calera Main Street hosts third annual Slider Showdown

By MACKENZEE SIMMS | Staff Writer

CALERA – With live music, local vendors and food trucks, Calera Main Street celebrated the June installment of First Friday with the third annual Slider Showdown on Friday, June 7 in the Calera Courtyard.

Presented by sponsors Burton Campers and Shelby County Newsmedia Inc., the June installment of First Friday’s theme was Backyard Bash.

Calera Main Street Director Jackie Batson shared that the idea behind the Backyard Bash was to emulate the atmosphere of a classic, summer block party.

“Because it’s June, it’s time to kick-off the summer,” Batson said. “(The Backyard Bash) is just celebrating all things outdoors.”

And what Backyard Bash is complete with a good, old fashioned slider?

In addition to the live music and vendors, this First Friday also featured the third annual Slider Showdown, a slider competition between the food trucks in attendance.

According to Batson, every food truck that attends First Friday prepares an entry for the slider competition. Since the food trucks represent a wide array of cuisines, each slider in the contest is unique.

“It’s really fun because everybody has a different concept of what they want to put on their menu as a slider,” Batson said. “We had very different sliders to judge against which was a lot of fun.”

The four judges of the contest were SCNI’s Alec Etheredge, Alfa Insurance agent Candace Byers, Charles Anderson and Main Street’s own Jackie Batson.

During the competition, the four judges sat at a booth facing away from the food trucks so that the judges didn’t know which food truck supplied which slider. A volunteer runner would fetch the slider from the food truck and bring it to the table.

First, the judges evaluated the appearance of the slider on the plate. After their first impressions, the runner sliced the slider into four parts, so each judge could have a taste. As they ate, the judges took notes on overall flavor and creativity of the dish.

At the end of the competition, Momo’s Cajun Eats secured the victory in the slider contest, while Battle Axe’s Feast won the love of the masses and claimed the People’s Choice Award.

In addition, attendees of First Friday may have noticed a new addition to the Calera Courtyard: a new playground. Despite still being under construction, the playground did not impede the First Friday festivities and gave residents a first look at what to expect from the playground when it is finished.

Installing the playground itself is just one part of a larger project that involves concrete work to run power underground, erecting a fence and laying protective turf.

“There will be little pieces to unveil here and there,” Batson said. “We are hopeful to have the playground opened by the end of the summer.”

Guests at the next First Friday will be able to see this progress as construction continues.

The next installment of Calera’s First Friday will be different than all others. July’s First Friday will actually occur on Thursday, July 4, and feature a food trucks, inflatables and a firework display.

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