News + Events

Chester County BBQ Festival and FHU’s RUSH Prepare to Host Thousands in Henderson

Henderson, Tennessee - Sep 21, 2018

As the Henderson/Chester County Chamber of Commerce finalizes preparations for thousands of attendees for the 41st Annual BBQ Festival, Freed-Hardeman University is set to host about 2,000 middle and high school students for RUSH (Reaching Unlimited Spiritual Heights). Both events will have full schedules Friday, Sept. 28, and Saturday, Sept. 29. RUSH guests, seventh through 12th graders and their chaperones, will conclude their weekend with worship at FHU’s Loyd Auditorium Sunday, Sept. 30 at 8:00am.

The Chester County BBQ Festival will be held Friday, Sept. 28, and Saturday, Sept. 29, in downtown Henderson. There is no admission fee to attend the annual festival, which includes vendors, pop-up shops, food and kids’ rides. Entertainers will take the stage at 10:00am each day, and the Thomas Media Talent Show will begin at 5:00pm Saturday. The BBQ selling pit, located behind the Chester County Courthouse, will open Friday and Saturday mornings at 10:00am and remain open until they have sold out. Princesses and superheroes will visit the event Saturday from 10:00am to 11:30am.

Friday, Sept. 28, at 9:00pm, Knox Hamilton will perform on a closed section of Main Street. The concert is free for those attending BBQ Festival and RUSH. Knox Hamilton ( is comprised of brothers Boots Copeland and Cobo Copeland, who have been making music together their entire lives, and their longtime buddy Drew Buffington.

Keynote speakers at RUSH include FHU faculty Matt Cook and Jim Gardner and FHU President David Shannon. The youth schedule also includes Walk4Water, classes, games and entertainment by hypnotist Jim Wand, who is a crowd favorite.

FHU President David Shannon commented on the weekend: “The BBQ Festival provides a wonderful opportunity for our community to come together and celebrate the quality of life we enjoy in our county. By hosting RUSH on BBQ Festival weekend, thousands of young people from around the country who will one day call Henderson their college home get a taste of what a great community this is! We’re grateful to coordinate efforts with the Henderson/Chester County Chamber of Commerce, city, county and countless volunteers to make it a weekend filled with special memories.”

Additional information about and registration for RUSH is online at Chester County BBQ Festival information is available at events and

The Henderson/Chester County Chamber of Commerce is a voluntary organization dedicated to supporting businesses and shaping a better community. Founded in 1976, the chamber unites individuals who desire to improve the community and see businesses thrive. Information about membership, chamber programs and more is available at