The 18th annual Wild Game and BBQ Cook-off, benefiting the Yaga’s

Children’s Fund, opens this weekend at Pier 21 and Harborside Drive. Mike Dean, owner of Yaga’s Entertainment, talked about the event.

Q: Yaga’s Wild Game Cook-Off is expecting to raise and grant its millionth dollar to children’s charities in Galveston County. How did this fundraiser get started?

A: It was a way for the people who came to Yaga’s to have a good time and give back to the community. They weren’t the gala kind of folks, and a cook-off with a twist was our choice.

Q: Every successful special event seems to have a distinctive flavor — literally, in this case. How did you decide on wild game?

A: It was twofold — Texas is a great outdoor state and we wanted to embrace the hunters and provide a cook-off that wasn’t just beans and brisket. It is currently the largest wild game cook-off in the United States.

Q: What’s new this year? What can people expect?

A: This Saturday you can meet Harlen “Big Foot” Hatcher, alligator hunter and star of the History Channel’s hit show “Swamp People.” He will be signing autographs and meet-and-greet from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Q: For new folks, what’s your best tip for enjoying the event?

A: Come down Saturday, bring the kids, enjoy barbecue dinners served 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., free kids area and petting zoo, and make some new friends!

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