Matt Lockwood - AUTHOR
Southern Roots Reunion Recap
The second annual Southern Roots: A BBQ Reunion was a lip-smacking, toe-tapping, heart-filling success as more than 1,300 people – including 15 Kleefstra Syndrome families – gathered for great food and fellowship in South Carolina.
More than 30 of the top chefs and pitmasters from around the country served up delicious barbecue while a rocking lineup of performers – including headliners Nashville Yacht Club Band – entertained attendees to raise money for IDefine and the battle against Kleefstra Syndrome.
“I am pleased beyond words with how the day went,” said Geoff Rhyne, IDefine CEO and creator of Southern Roots. “First off, I can’t thank our chefs enough. They voluntarily take time away from their restaurants and families on a Saturday to make Southern Roots what it is. And it is always so fulfilling for our Kleefstra Syndrome families to be able to gather and support each other. It’s a reminder that we’re not alone, we are a community.”
Karri and Justin Harding traveled to the event from Michigan with their family, including eight-year-old Adalee, who has KS.
“Adalee just loves her Kleefstra friends and even though it’s been a year since she saw them, she didn’t miss a beat on remembering them and being inseparable from her friends,” said Karri. “They all just connect and it’s the most beautiful thing you could see.”
Allie Knight of CB Events, which co-organized Southern Roots, says the combination of the families and chefs is a great recipe.
“Once people hear what the event is for, they want to be a part of it,” said Knight. “It’s important that they see the families they’re helping and where their money is going. They get ask to do things all of the time, it boils down to the cause.”
The amount raised at this year’s event is still being calculated, but it is expected to top the $40,000 raised last year.
Next year’s event is already scheduled for April 20, 2024.
“Greenville and Travelers Rest are definitely event driven cities, so knowing that Trailblazer Park is our home, we wanted to have our date secured for next year and get it on people’s calendars while they are still riding the high from the event,” said Knight. “It also helps with chefs and sponsors while we are having recap meetings and sending thank you notes to already have that date solidified. It’s just exciting!”