Best North American BBQ Festivals


The summer months are notorious for a plethora of food festivals for many different types of cuisines—it seems like these days there’s a festival for just about any food, from classics such rib and taco festivals, to new additions such as mac and cheese and grilled cheese-fest, to the innovative—such as pickle fest and sushi fest, there are tons of different festivals for every kind of pallet.

However, there’s still one type of cooking that reigns supreme—BBQ. These are a list of some of the most anticipated BBQ fests that are coming up late summer and early fall across North America.

Russian River Beer Revival & BBQ Cook-Off

This festival is returning for the 15th year in Monte Rio, California. This year, it will feature 35 BBQ teams, more than 40 breweries, and live music to set the mood along the banks of the Russian River.

Tickets are $75 for general admission and $100 for VIP. General admission tickets include Beer and Cider tastings from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and BBQ tastings all day.

Tickets aren’t sold at the door, so you’ll need to get yours in advance.

Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ

Being held in Toronto, Canada from August 23 to August 25, this festival offers the three, aforementioned consumable items—beer, bourbon, and BBQ, along with live country music, line dancing, and a chance to take on a mechanical bull.

There will also be games and attractions, photo booths, and even axe throwing. Located on Princes Boulevard just behind Exhibition Place, this festival will feature some of the best BBQ vendors in the city, and tickets are starting at under $8 CAD.

Kentucky State BBQ Festival

From September 7 to September 9, Danville, Kentucky will become a battleground where anyone who thinks they know their way around a grill can take on the Backyard BBQ Challenge. The festival will also include live musical performances, and some of the most renowned pitmasters from across the state, including Rod ‘Lucky Dog’ Bennett, Carey Bringle, Moe Cason, and many others.

Tickets start at $5 for one-day general admission, which gives you access to the grounds, the music, and of course, the opportunity to sample the food. A three-day weekend pass costs just $10 and comes with the same provisions as the general admission tickets—just for three days instead of one.

There are also VIP packages available for either $100 or $150 that come with a myriad of additional features including access to the event.

American Royal World Series of Barbecue

Being held at the Kansas City Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas, this BBQ festival is celebrating its 40th year this September from the 12 to the 15.

This year’s festival boasts the largest BBQ competition in the world, with more than 500 teams participating and 50,000 spectators.

In addition to the food, there will also be live rodeo and equine events. Tickets for the festival start at $25 in advance or $30 at the door.