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The Barbecue Festival in Lexington, NC

October 28, 2023 @ 8:30 am 6:00 pm

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The Lexington Barbecue Festival 2023: Savoring Tradition in Every Bite

Lexington Barbecue Festival Logo

LEXINGTON, NC – As autumn leaves begin their colorful descent in North Carolina, the city of Lexington is abuzz with anticipation.

The iconic Barbecue Festival, a culinary and cultural extravaganza, is set to return, promising a day filled with smoky aromas, soulful melodies, and a community spirit that’s as warm as the grills that will soon be fired up.

The Lexington Barbecue Festival: A Journey Through Time

In the heart of North Carolina, the city of Lexington boasts a culinary tradition that has become synonymous with its identity: barbecue.

This love affair with smoked pork began in earnest in 1919, with Sid Weaver setting up a modest tent in the town center. As the years rolled on, the city’s reputation grew, and so did its number of barbecue joints, each adding their unique twist to the Lexington style.

It was in this backdrop of burgeoning barbecue fame that the idea for a festival was conceived. In 1984, a conversation between Joe Sink, Jr., publisher of THE DISPATCH, and officials from BB&T, led to the birth of the Lexington Barbecue Festival.

Spearheaded by Kay Saintsing and produced by Saintsing Management Services, the inaugural event took place on October 27, 1984.

What began as a local celebration soon transformed into a grand annual affair, drawing enthusiasts from far and wide. Over the decades, the festival has not only celebrated Lexington’s unique barbecue style but has also supported numerous civic and non-profit organizations.

With the city and Davidson County declaring October as “Barbecue Month,” the festival has become more than just a day’s event; it’s a month-long celebration of Lexington’s rich barbecue legacy.

A Legacy Rekindled:

In its 39th iteration, the festival stands as a testament to Lexington’s rich barbecue heritage. Born from a humble discussion in 1984, this annual event has evolved into a grand celebration, drawing enthusiasts from across the nation.

And while the festival has seen exponential growth, its heart remains rooted in tradition. Lexington, after all, isn’t just a city; it’s the Barbecue Capital of the World.

The Day’s Delights:

On October 28, Uptown Lexington will transform into a barbecue haven.

Here’s what attendees can expect:

  • Morning to Night: The festivities kick off at 8:30 am with exhibits, followed by a grand opening ceremony at 9:00 am. As the day unfolds, barbecue tents will serve their delicacies from 10:00 am, culminating in a grand finale concert from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the Breeden Insurance Amphitheater.
  • Singular in Flavor: While the world of barbecue boasts a myriad of styles, this festival is a tribute to one alone: the Lexington Style. It’s a celebration of hickory-smoked pork shoulders, basted in a special “dip”, creating a flavor that’s both unique and universally loved.
  • Entertainment Galore: With six stages set up, attendees will be treated to a diverse range of musical acts. While the 2023 lineup remains under wraps, if previous years are any indication, festival-goers are in for a treat.

Navigating the Festival:

For those driving in, ample parking is available in private lots around the festival’s perimeter. Community groups, in a bid to support local causes, will manage many of these lots.

A special note for attendees: side streets and alleys are off-limits for parking, and illegally parked vehicles face towing.

For those looking to avoid the hassle of parking, a shuttle service from Childress Vineyards offers a convenient alternative. This turn-of-the-century trolley isn’t just practical; it’s a nostalgic journey, setting the tone for the festival ahead.

Safety First:

In ensuring that the festival remains a joyous occasion for all, certain rules are in place. Pets, coolers, and personal amplification devices are best left at home. And in a nod to modern security concerns, all bags and attendees are subject to checks.

The Place to Be:

The Lexington Barbecue Festival isn’t just an event; it’s an experience. It’s a day where tradition takes center stage, where every bite tells a story, and where a community comes together in celebration of its rich heritage.

As the smoke rises and melodies fill the air, one thing is certain: on October 28, Lexington is the place to be.

2 S Main St.
Lexington, North Carolina 27292 United States
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If you’re interested in keeping up with SC BBQ events throughout the year, check out our SC BBQ Events Calendar.