Bar-B-Q Block Party returning May 13-14

·2 min read

Mar. 1—Don't think of it as the 42nd annual International Bar-B-Q Festival.

The May 13-14 event will be the second annual Bar-B-Q Block Party.

The barbecue festival, an Owensboro staple for more than four decades, came to a crashing halt in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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

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

And the tons of barbecue cooked in years past was scaled back accordingly.

The 2021 party was primarily only on Saturday, although barbecue was being sold downtown on Friday night as well.

This year, Block Party II, will be bigger than last year, but not quite as big as the festival of years gone by.

Allen Payne, committee chairman, said, "We're trying to take it to the next level and move it up a notch or two. We'll have a few vendors, some arts and crafts, the carnival will be back. But it's still not the full festival, so we didn't want to call it the International Bar-B-Q Festival yet. We're seeing what works best."

Church cooking teams will be back barbecuing mutton, pork, chickens and some new items as well as cooking burgoo.

But there won't be judging again this year.

Payne said he hopes the Governor's Cup trophy for the best cooking team will return in 2023.

He said the Backyard Cooking Competition will return with judging this year.

Thirty-four teams from several states competed last year.

Entertainment will be back on a stage in front of the Owensboro Convention Center.

Payne said he's not sure if the mutton sandwich eating competition will be back.

But Joey Chestnut, the most recognizable competitive eater in the country, is expected to be in town.

Payne said, "We won't have all the outside vendors selling food, but we'll have some. We're trying to get some vendors who sell barbecue sauce and rubs."

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

"It's not as scary this year as it was last year," Payne said. "But we're going to ease back into it. We're still being cautious."

Veterans Boulevard will be open to traffic this year, so people can drive down 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 chilly wind.

Payne's hoping for better weather this year.

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301