Bar-BQ Block Party back on May 13 and 14

March 1—Don’t think of it as the 42nd Annual International Bar-BQ Festival.

The May 13-14 event will be Bar-BQ’s second annual neighborhood party.

The BBQ Festival, a staple of Owensboro for more than four decades, came to an abrupt halt in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Last year, with the pandemic still raging, the festival committee brought back a scaled-down version called Bar-BQ Block Party.

He brought people downtown by the hundreds, not the thousands.

And the tons of barbecue cooked over the years have been reduced accordingly.

The 2021 party only took place mainly on Saturdays, although the barbecue was also sold out downtown on Friday evenings.

This year, Block Party II, will be bigger than last year, but not as big as the festival in years past.

Allen Payne, chairman of the committee, said: “We’re trying to take it to the next level and kick it up a notch or two. We’ll have a few vendors, arts and crafts, carnival will be back. But it’s not the full festival yet, so we didn’t want to call it the International Bar-BQ Festival yet, we see what works best.

The church’s kitchen teams will be back to barbecue mutton, pork, chicken and a few novelties as well as cook burgoo.

But there will be no more judging this year.

Payne said he hopes the Governor’s Cup trophy for top kitchen team returns in 2023.

He said the backyard cooking competition will return with judging this year.

Thirty-four teams from multiple states competed last year.

Entertainment will return to a stage in front of the Owensboro Convention Center.

Payne said he wasn’t sure the mutton sandwich eating contest was back.

But Joey Chestnut, the nation’s most recognizable competitive eater, should be in town.

Payne said, “We won’t have all the outside vendors selling food, but we will have some. We’re trying to get vendors selling barbecue sauce and rubs.”

Local restaurants will sell food on sidewalks along Second Street, he said, and picnic tables will be set up across the street.

“It’s not as scary this year as it was last year,” Payne said. “But we will come back to it slowly. We remain cautious.”

Veterans Boulevard will be open to traffic this year, so people can drive to the park, he said. “We’re just trying to get back to basics.”

Last year, temperatures hovered in the upper 50s most of the day under gray skies with a cold wind.

Payne is hoping for better weather this year.

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301 [email protected]

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