International Bar-B-Q Festival

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Bar-B-Q Festival, International

Second weekend in May
A two-day mouth-watering event in Owensboro, Ky., which calls itself the Bar-B-Q Capital of the World. In the course of the weekend, 10 tons of mutton, 5,000 chickens, and 1,500 gallons of burgoo are cooked and served. Kentucky burgoo is a thick soup made of chicken, mutton, beef, tomatoes, cabbage, potatoes, onions, and corn.
The festival had its beginnings at the turn of the century when the many Roman Catholic churches in the area had summertime picnics in their parishes. Each church had a cooking team to vie with the others in cooking the best barbecue. Eventually, the idea struck someone that there could be a city-wide barbecue if all the church barbecues were combined. Out of that grew the present festival, which now attracts more than 40,000 people.
The barbecue-pit fires are lit on Friday afternoon on the banks of the Ohio River, and the chicken and meat—always mutton, not beef—is barbecued when the coals are red. The Roman Catholic parish chefs still compete, but the cooking contest has expanded to be open to anyone. Events besides cooking and eating include arts and crafts exhibits, bluegrass and country music, street dancing, and contests of pie eating, keg throwing and horseshoe throwing. There are also likely to be political speeches.
International Bar-B-Q Festival
P.O. Box 434
Owensboro, KY 42301
800-489-1131 or 270-926-6938
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.
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