With the soaring temperatures and drought conditions, the state has imposed a burn ban, so call 911 if you see a plume of smoke, unless of course you are in Ville Platte, where the Smoked Meat Festival takes place this weekend.

Why Chapter 632 of the Vietnam Veterans of America have chosen the last weekend in June, ostensibly the hottest days of the year, to crank up their barbecue pits is beyond me, but my policy is never to look a gift pig in the mouth. Just crank up your battery powered personal fan, wrap your neck in an ice-water soaked bandana, sunscreen up and chow down on some of the best barbecue from the most famous smoked meat region in the country. If you can’t take it outside, The Pig Stand (318 E Main St.), a mecca for great pork dishes, will allow you to chill and still eat smoked meat.

Music begins Friday night at 6 p.m at the festival grounds. Saturday’s opening ceremonies at noon honor all veterans who have served the country and remember the fallen soldiers from the Vietnam War with bagpipes, color guard salutes, F-15 jet fly overs, and patriotic guest speakers. The World Championship Smoked Meat Cook-off is for amateurs and professionals. The cook-off is open to any kind of dish using smoked meat, such as sausage, tasso, pounce, boureé, deer, pig, rabbit and alligator. Tasting begins following opening ceremonies, winners will be announced at 3 p.m. Music continues until midnight, with headliners Wayne Toups & Zydecajun at 10:30 p.m. For more info, call (337) 363-6700.

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