If you love barbecue and good times, be sure to add the Kinston BBQ Festival to your schedule. Known as the world’s largest whole hog cook-off, you’ll have a blast. Not only will you enjoy amazing food but also entertainment. You could go alone, with a friend, or take your entire family.
When and Where
You’ll find this festival in downtown Kinston, North Carolina. The schedule shows it’ll run from May 5 through 6. The festival starts at 5 p.m. and closes at 10 p.m. on May 5. On May 6, the festival starts at 10 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m.
The “BBQ Fest on the Neuse” will stretch over several blocks running from Pearson Park to Queen Street. Simply type in 100 N Herritage Street on our GPS. While there’s no entrance fee, you’ll need to bring money for food, beverages, arts, crafts, and more.
For added convenience, the organizers will provide free shuttle service. On May 5, it’ll run between the hours of 4:30 and 10:30 p.m. Then, on May 6, you can catch a ride from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Something for Everyone
This open-air festival offers something for everyone who attends. You can go to enjoy barbecue, beverages, and music, volunteer your time, or register to compete in the cook-off. As you’ll see from the information below, it’s a blast.
May 5, 2023
Below is the schedule for the opening day of the Kinston BBQ Festival.
This is when the festival opens to the public. At this time, you can start the adventure with any of the following:
- Vendors spots (more than 150)
- Coastal Plains Bike Show
- Classic Car Cruise In
- Carnival and Amusement Rides
- Kids Fest – Flimsy’s Fun Zone
5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
During these hours, you can also shop and head to the Herritage Street Stage for WRNS State Entertainment. In addition, you can listen to DJs or watch people dance the Kinston Shag.
6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
At this time, a representative of the festival will introduce the Wil King Hop Happenin’ Cook-Off Team.
7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
A Big City Band will perform on the Herritage Street Stage. Following, Easton Corbin, a popular Nashville Recording Artist, will entertain the crowd.
May 6, 2023
Along with everything mentioned for May 5, the second day of the Kinston BBQ Festival will feature a car show.
This is when the opening ceremony will take place. In addition, you can visit the Farmer’s Market and the CSS Civil War Museum.
The Southern Misfits band will perform on the Herritage Street stage. Moreover, you can watch demos and the Sam Jones book signing at the Farmer’s Market.
Until they sell out, you can benefit from the BBQ sandwich sale. Simply head to the BBQ Chop Tent across from the Farmers Market on Herritage Street.
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10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
You can also see Tours at The O’Neil, smart Kingston Art Gallery, CSS Neuse II Tours, and the CSS Neuse Museum. On the second day, you can also enjoy special attractions, as well as events for shopping and dining.
Also, there’s the Kinston Mayor’s Golden Key Award ceremony. For country music, Super Grit Cowboy Band will perform at the Herritage Street Stage from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Then, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., the No Quarter Brass Band will take over.
The festival will have a lot more going on. Whether you go on May 5 or May 6, be ready for great food, excellent entertainment, and lots of fun.
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