Bar-B-Q Block Party bringing music, rides and delicious fun to downtown Owensboro in May

Visitors far and wide have traveled to Owensboro for the annual International Bar-B-Q Festival for decades. Following a decision to scale down the Bar-B-Q Festival last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Owensboro’s first-ever Bar-B-Q Block Party turned out to be a major success and, in the future, it’s expected to evolve into something bigger and better than ever before.

This year’s Bar-B-Q Block Party will be both similar to, and different from, last year’s event. Running for two days on May 13 and 14, this festival will be heavily focused on good old-fashioned barbecue, the way the original Bar-B-Q Festival was designed to be.

The block party will include your favorite Bar-B-Q Festival elements from years past, such as the church cooking teams, and the Backyard Cooking Competition presented by Kentucky Legend.

More than 30 cooking teams will compete for pride and prizes in the Backyard Cooking Competition. They’ll apply their home-grown skills to cook up some of the best beef, chicken and pork you’ll ever taste. Awards are presented in each category and an overall Backyard Cook Grand Champion gets to take home the biggest prize of all.

New to this year’s festival, live music will be played both days on the front lawn of the Owensboro Convention Center! You can catch performances on the stage in front of the building on Friday, May 13 from 5-9 p.m. and on Saturday from 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

The 2022 Bar-B-Q Block Party will also have fun stuff for the kiddos to do, including a carnival and midway games. The Block Party will also be adding a dozen more Bar-B-Q food trucks and vendors to 2nd Street this year, giving those who attend the chance to try tons of different recipes, styles and flavors from a variety of creative culinary talent.

This family-friendly event will include seating in the form of picnic tables placed all along 2nd Street, as well as side streets that surround the area, so you’ll have plenty of room to hang out with your family and friends and sit down to eat all the amazing food and drinks that are offered.

World Champion Eater Joey Chestnut will be back in Owensboro for the Bar-B-Q Block Party on Saturday from noon-1 p.m. for a “Meet & Greet” presented by Kentucky Legend! You can find Chestnut at the Kentucky Legend sampling tent on 2nd Street and snag an autograph and photo with the legendary eater. Chestnut will also be a celebrity judge for the Backyard Cooking Competition.

And if you’re in the market for a good run before you eat all that delicious food, you can sign up for the BBQ 5K! This road race will kick off on Saturday at 8 a.m. and proceeds will support Owensboro’s local YMCA.

The Bar-B-Q Block Party will take place on Friday, May 13 from noon-9 p.m. and on Saturday, May 14 from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. in downtown Owensboro.