After last year’s scaled-down event due to COVID-19, BBQ Fest on the Neuse promises to be fully effective for this year’s 41st annual festival, which organizers say is Europe’s biggest cooking competition of whole pork in the world.
The BBQ Fest on the Neuse will take place from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on May 6 and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 7 in several blocks in downtown Kinston between Pearson Park and Queen Street, starting with the King Street and ending with Blount Street. This is a rain or shine event.
Parking will be available throughout downtown Kinston with public car parks that will have designated signs. The festival area and streets will be closed to vehicles and parking. Disabled parking will be available Friday on East North Street and Saturday on West Blount and East Caswell Streets.
Shuttle service will be available Friday from 4:30-10:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9:00 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Shuttle stop locations will be Grainger Stadium, Herritage Street/Blount Street and Queen Street/North Street.
Admission is free, but local businesses and festival vendors will be on hand selling food, drink, crafts and other merchandise. BBQ plates will be available for purchase at the BBQ Chop tent on Herritage Street across from the Farmer’s Market on Saturdays from 11 a.m. while supplies last.
Other local restaurants will also be open to customers. For a list of these companies, go to visitkinston.com.
Kinston BBQ Fest music and entertainment
Country music singer Niko Moon, an artist signed to Sony Music Nashville/RCA Nashville will be the featured performer. Moon’s hits include “Good Time” which has over 46,000,000 online impressions and all of his songs can be heard on WRNS including “No Sad Songs” and “Paradise to Me”. Moon has also written songs for Dierks Bentley, Zac Brown Band, Rascal Flatts and Morgan Wallen.
Moon will perform at 8:30 p.m. Friday on the Herritage Street Stage. Fireworks will immediately follow the concert.
There will be musical and dance performances by a variety of artists over the two days, including Big City, The Wicked Shimmies, Chris Hagan Band, Straightwire Band, Wood & Steel Band, Paige King Johnson, Autumn Tyde Beach and Party Band, Mooves Dance Studio, Studio 86, Dance Etc., Matt Letch, Nick & Dean Acoustic and The Wicked Shimmies. To find out the times and locations of the performances, go to kinstonbbq.com.
The kids are sure to enjoy a visit with Flimsy the Clown at the Fun Zone Dance Party on Friday night and meeting Maribel Madrigal from Disney’s Encanto on Saturday. Additional activities for kids include inflatables, giant slides, a dunk tank, basketball game, and cotton candy machines.
Other activities include a Carolina Classic Cruisers car and truck show, CSS Neuse II tours, free admission to the CSS Neuse museum, and helicopter tours from 5-10 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday from Pearson Park.
The Mayor of Kinston’s Golden Key Awards Ceremony will take place at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at the Herritage Street Stage.
Only service animals are permitted at the festival.
For more information, call 252-523-2500 or 252-522-0004.