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BBQ and Barrels Returns May 10-11, 2024

The rich barbecue and bourbon tradition in Owensboro will once again fill the streets downtown on May 10 – 11, 2024. 

New this year, festival attendees can expect more BBQ vendors, 5 church cooking teams, extra art vendors, a larger Baird Private Wealth Management Bourbon Experience in the Owensboro Convention Center, the addition of the KY Champions Motorcar Invitational, and concerts on the Owensboro Convention Center lawn. Entertainment headliners will be announced on Monday, February 5.

“The improved concept that we launched last year to refocus on great barbecue and adding a new bourbon element proved to be a tremendous success with most of the vendors selling out of food each day,” said Sharon Nesmith, former International Bar-B-Q Festival Chair.  “The outstanding volume of sales last year was amazing, and we are excited to be adding more barbecue vendors, a new church team, Immaculate Parrish, and more bourbon options this year.”

“We have been a part of the BBQ weekend downtown for a long time.  Our parish is excited about the new look of the event and the opportunities for us to showcase our traditional BBQ weekend favorites, in addition to some new barbecue options,” said Bruce Tucker, Precious Blood Cooking Team.

A new component to the event last year was the Bourbon Experience taking place at the Owensboro Convention Center. The sold-out ticketed bourbon experience featured more than 30 distillers offering bourbon samples in addition to vintage Owensboro barbecue.  The 2024 Bourbon Experience will expand its footprint inside the Owensboro Convention Center, allowing more ticket holders to enjoy traditional Owensboro barbecue from Ole South Bar-B-Q and bourbon samples from more than 35 distillers. 

“Bourbon roots run deep in Owensboro, as does my family ancestry. I’m excited to help procure the bourbon experience and apply my 15 years of industry experience in helping this event grow on its tremendous success in its first year,” said Seth Thompson, The Bourbon Review Owner.

“Owensboro deserves a bourbon expo, and this element of BBQ and Barrels is exactly what is being brought to the table. We look forward to announcing our expanded lineup of distilleries in the near future,” said Dave Kirk, Visit Owensboro Destination Management.

BBQ and Barrels will kick off on Friday, May 10 at 12:00 PM with BBQ from the church cooking teams and food vendors, including the return of the Pork Producers, carnival rides, and live music. The event will continue on Saturday, May 11 with the addition of the BBQ 5K, Backyard BBQ Cookoff, and the bourbon tasting events inside the Owensboro Convention Center.

Tickets will go on sale for the bourbon element of the event on February 29. VIP options will be available with the opportunity to try some special offerings from distilleries and food pairings. Bourbon classes and a multi-course dinner and cocktail paring with Green River Distilling Company will also be offered on Friday.