Uptown (South Tryon St)
October 12 to 13, 2012
Free (parking is free as well)
For the majority of the country, "barbeque" is a verb. But here in the south, it's way, way more than that. The Time Warner Cable BBQ and Blues festival is the official start of the fall season for many Charlotteans, and the region's best celebration of all things barbeque. If it has "BBQ" in the name of the festival, you know the hog is going to be the star of the show. The festival has public cooking exhibitions, live music from local acts, the chance to taste some of the best food and drink around, and a local and national barbecue competition.
The main attraction here is of course the 'cue. Close to 100 teams from across the nation compete for a $25,000 prize. National competition categories include whole hog, pork shoulder and ribs, and the "backyard griller" competition (made up of local and regional teams) show off their favorite pork butt and ribs. After all that, there's the "anything but" competition, where teams grill up their best "non-pork" dish - from other meats to vegetables. Public tasting of the competition dishes isn't offered, but you can apply to be a judge at the Memphis Barbeque Network website.
But, as the name implies, you won't find just barbecue at this festival. The "blues" side of things is no slouch either. Some of the biggest names in blues have graced the stage at this event, including Nappy Brown, Delbert McClinton, Tinsley Ellis, Elvin Bishop, and The Fabulous Thunderbirds.
Because of the history of this festival and the crowd and competition it attracts, this is one of the premier barbecue festivals in the region. It's even been named the state's official Memphis Barbecue Network championship cook-off, and is the largest MBN sanctioned event in the southeast.
From music to sports to arts to culture, there are always plenty of festivals happening around town. Click here for a month by month calendar of festivals in Charlotte. Know of a festival we don't have listed? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.