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Central-Florida-BBQ-Festivals-and-Contests

Central Florida BBQ Festivals - Take Your Taste Buds to Porkalicious

Published on February 5, 2019 by SarahE

If you like a good BBQ blow-out, then you'll love all the Central Florida BBQ festivals, contests and cook-outs. 

Due to year round sunshine, professional pit masters and amateurs alike cook up a storm in Florida all year, but especially between November and April.

Central Florida BBQ festivals give you the chance to pig out on Pitmaster specials. What better way to enjoy this classic American cuisine? Treat your taste buds to mouth-watering, award-winning ribs, championship brisket and piggylicious pulled pork.

Central Florida BBQ festivals don't just stop at BBQ staples though. Fancy a little heat? Try deep-fried jalapeño's. How about that sweet tooth craving? Deep fried Oreos and deep-fried strawberries will give you the perfect sugar rush. You'll find smothered nachos, loaded tater tots and smokin' sliders amongst other tasty treats. And traditional sides like Southern-Style Collard Greens, sweet beans, green bean casserole and Mac n Cheese.

Sanctioned BBQ Contests

Many of the Central Florida BBQ festivals are contests that are sanctioned by Florida BBQ Association. Does being a sanctioned event make a difference to you and I? Well it does, and it doesn't, kind of!

Health regulations mean we, the public, aren't able to sample food created for the competition. The food is prepared, presented and judged. Then family and friends of competing teams get to gorge on the goodies.

Central Florida BBQ Contests

But, the winners (Grand Champions) of top-level sanctioning associations, like Florida BBQ Association, qualify for an invitation to larger and more prestigious world championships. They'll be invited to compete in world championships such as The American Royal, Houston Rodeo Show and the Jack Daniels BBQ World Championship.

That means a sanctioned BBQ contest will attract top-level Pitmasters. And lots of these guys have vending spots where you can purchase this delicious award-winning food.

A sanctioned contest generally gives you a lot more choice from top-level BBQ. But don't let that put you off a good old regular BBQ or backyard get together though!

Family Friendly BBQ Festivals

Virtually all Central Florida BBQ festivals are family friendly events and perfect for all ages. Adults will appreciate the quality of food and live entertainment. There's usually live outdoor concerts and beer tents.

For kiddos, there's often a bounce house and games. You'll also often find craft and art vendors.

And did we mention mouth-watering competition level food?

Central Florida BBQ Festivals


Central Florida BBQ Festival 2019 Calendar

Beer, Bacon & BBQ Festival

Not only are you going to get the very best bacon and BBQ food, you'll have a choice of over 40 craft beers from local and national breweries.

The event is free with ticket upgrades available with tasing and craft beer options. There will be live music from The Adam Mareno Project.

When: November 2nd 2019 - 2pm-7pm
Where: Cranes Roost Park, 274 Cranes Roost Blvd, Altamonte Springs, FL 32701
Web: Sunny FM Beer, Bacon & BBQ Festival 

Rock N Brews BBQ

FBA Sanctioned BBQ contest with a Pro’s, Backyard, and Kids Division. There will be Music from local bands, plus Almost There will be playing on the Riverfront Stage from 7-11 pm on Saturday Evening, November 16th.

Free entry, tickets on sale for People’s Choice BBQ Tasting and the Craft Beer Tasting.

When: November 16th 2019 11am to 11pm
Where: Camp Mack, a Guy Harvey Lodge, Marina & RV Resort
Web: Rock N Brews
Sanctioned FBA Event

Grillers Gone Wild BBQ Festival

Backyard BBQ competition with kids activities, arts and crafts booths, jeep show, car show and live music. The Kid Zone will feature a blow up slide, bounce house, face painting and rock painting
.Central Florida BBQ Festivals Grillers Gone Wild
When: November 16th 2019 - 10am to 4pm
Where: City of South Daytona Parks & Recreation 
Web: Grillers Gone wild Facebook 

Plant City Pig Jam

There will some of the best Southern finger lickin' barbecue around, live music, kids play area, rock climbing wall, face-painting, moon walk and other family activities. A great day out for all the family.

When: November 22nd, 2019 5PM - 10PM / November, 23rd, 2019  10AM to 5PM
Where: 1401 Gordon Food Service Dr, Plant City, FL 33563
Website: Plant City Pig Jam

Orange Blossom Revue

Head to the shores of Lake Wailes in Lake Wales and you'll find delicious food, live music and craft beers.

When: December 6th 2019 5-9pm, December 7th, 2019:
Where: 33 N Lakeshore Blvd. Lake Wales, FL 33853.
Web: Orange Blossom Revue
Sanctioned FBA Event


Central Florida BBQ Festival 2020 Calendar

Apopka Beer & BBQ Festival

Take a stroll in the park to enjoy delicious BBQ, live music, art & craft vendors, kid zone and live demos by the HGTV guest

When: January 11th 2020 11am to 4pm
Where: Apopka, Florida
Web: Apopka Beer & BBQ Facebookk

Pigz in Z’Hills BBQ & Blues Festival

As well as a BBQ competition, there's live music, a cornhole tournament, classic car shaw and a kid zone.

When: Friday January 17th 2020- 6pm-9pm | Saturday January 18th 2020 10am - 6pm
Where: 5200 Airport Road, Zephyrhills, FL
Web: Pigz in Z'Hills
Sanctioned FBA Event

Lakeland Pig Fest

Join in the good eating and good music for a weekend of fun and food.

When: Friday January 24th 2020- 5pm-10pm | Saturday January 25th 2020 10am - 5pm
Where: SUN 'n FUN Expo Campus, 4175 Medulla Rd, Lakeland, FL 33811
Admission: $5 per person, Kids 12 and under free.

7th Charity Chili Cook-Off & BBQ Comp

A fund raising event packed with great food and BBQ all for a great cause. Benefits local firefighters with major medical treatments.

When: January 24th & 25th 2020
Where: Gator Harley-Davidson, 1745 US-441, Leesburg, FL 34748, USA
Web: Lake Firefighter Charity

Smoke on The Water

Over 80 champions from the USA compete in this annual event. There's a music festival and an aerial flyover along with lots of family fun.

Smoke on The Water is now in it's 16th year and funds raised benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Polk County.

Central Florida BBQ Fesetivals Smoke on The Water 2020

When: February 7th-8th 2020
Where: Citrus Center, Boys and Girls Club, 2,400 Havendale Blvd., Winter Haven, 33881
Web: Smoke on The Water
Sanctioned FBA Event

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Grills Gone Wild - Davenport

Grills Gone Wild in Davenport not only has awesome food and live music, but there's a classic car show too.

Bay Street Classic Car Show is held Saturday from 10am to 5pm.

Central Florida BBQ Festivals - Grills Gone Wild Davenport

When: Friday, February 14, 2020 at 5:00 PM to Saturday, February 15, 2020 at 5:00 PM
Where: Market Street, Davenport, Florida
Admission: Free
Sanctioned FBA Event

Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival

Event organizers tell us: "Get ready to enjoy all those pleasures that true Southerners live by - Beer, Bourbon, Barbeque, Boots, Bacon, Biscuits, Bluegrass and Smoked Beasts! It's a great day of beer sippin', bourbon tastin', music listenin', cigar smokin', and barbeque eatin'. Your admission buys you a sampling glass so you can enjoy an ALL-YOU-CARE –TO-TASTE sampling of beer and bourbon".

  • BBQ Selection: Pulled pork from whole hogs, ribs, brisket, chickens, sausages and any fixin’ you could imagine.
  • Seminars: With Master Distillers, Brewmasters, and Pit Masters From the Deep South.
  • Live Rock & Blues Music
  • Contests: Tampa's Best Beer Belly; Drink Like A Lady; Bacon Eating Competition
  • All You Care To Taste Beer and Bourbon Tastings: 40 Bourbons and 60 Beers on Tap.
  • Games: Giant Jenga, Cornhole and More

Check out the video from a previous event:

When: February 15th 2020 - 2pm – 6pm General Admission | Noon - 6pm VIP Bacon & Whole Hog Session
Where: Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, Tampa, Florida
Admission: Starts at $40, up to $75 for VIP package for advance purchase.

Ribs on The Ridge

One of the larger Central Florida BBQ contests, Ribs on the Ridge offers endless food varieties, live music, arts and craft vendors.

When: February 21st 2020 5pm-9pm | February 22nd 2020 10am-5pm
Where: Lake Eva Park, 555 Ledwith Ave Haines City, FL 33844 
Admission: Free
Sanctioned FBA Event

BBQ, Bluegrass & Brews Cook-Off, Car Show & Family Fest

As well as delicious BBQ, there will also be food trucks attending this fun family event as well as live music. Youngsters will love the Kid Zone, car enthusiasts will enjoy the 3rd Annual Red, White & Wheels Car Show.

All proceeds benefit Eastern Florida State College Foundation student scholarships.

When: Saturday February 22nd 2020
Where: Eastern Florida State College - Melbourne Campus 3865 N Wickham Rd, Melbourne, Florida 32935 
Admission: $10 at the gate or $8 in advance

Pig on The Pond

This annual festival has lots of entertainment for all the family:

  • Chilli Cook Off
  • Fireworks
  • Chase's Racing Pigs
  • Swamp Brothers
  • Carnival Rides

Central Florida BBQ Festivals - Pig on the Pond

When: Friday March 6 2020  5pm-10pm | Saturday March 7 2020 10am-10pm | Sunday March 8 2020 11am- 6pm
Where: Clermont Waterfront Park, 100 3rd Street Clermont, FL 34711 United States
Admission: Daily admission for adults $5, Children 2-6 $3, Under 2 free.
Web: Pig on the Pond

Apopka Proud BBQ Showdown

There will be live entertainment, live demonstrations, BBQ food vendors & merchants. People’s choice tasting and BBQ awards.

When: April 4th 2020
Where: Apopka City – Athletic Complex 2500 Apply Lane Apopka, FL 32712 
Admission: Free
Sanctioned FBA Event

Big Belly BBQ Battle

When: September 4th & 5th 2020
Where: Davenport, Florida
Sanctioned FBA Event

Lakeridge BBQ & Blues Festival

Get ready for the battle! Some of the USA’s top BBQ Rib Competitors are invited to compete in an epic battle. The team that takes top spot will be the Lakeridge Winery "Rib Champion". Enjoy live music from some of the area’s top Blues Bands. In the Wine and Cheese Bar you'll hear some great solo acts.Central Florida BBQ Festivals - Lakeridge Winery BBQ and Blues

When: October 9, 2020 10:00 am - 6:00 pm | October 10, 2020 10:00 am - 6:00 pm | October 11, 2020 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Where: Lakeridge Winery, 19239 US 27 North Clermont, Florida 34717
Admission: Adults $10, children under 12 free
Web: Lakeridge Winery

Orange Blossom Revue

Head to the shores of Lake Wailes in Lake Wales and you'll find delicious food, live music and craft beers.

When: December 4th 2020 @ 8:00 am - December 5th 2020 @ 5:00 pm
Where: 33 N Lakeshore Blvd. Lake Wales, FL 33853.
Web: Orange Blossom Revue
Sanctioned FBA Event

Pigz in Z’Hills BBQ & Blues Festival

As well as a BBQ competition, there's live music, a cornhole tournament, classic car shaw and a kid zone.

When: Friday January 15th 2021- 6pm-9pm | Saturday January 16th 2021 10am - 6pm
Where: 5200 Airport Road, Zephyrhills, FL
Web: Pigz in Z'Hills
Sanctioned FBA Event

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Awaiting Date Confirmations:

Planes, Trains & BBQ

When: DATE NOT YET ANNOUNCED
Where: Wooten Park, 100 E Ruby St, Tavares, FL 32278
Admission: Free

Take the whole family along to this kid-friendly event. Not only is there delicious food to tuck into, but there is lots of entertainment and a classic car show to boot.

  • Free Concert
  • Air Show
  • Train Rides
  • Award winning BBQ
  • Food & Merchandise Vendors
  • Kids Zone
  • Classic Car Show

Central Florida BBQ Festivals Planes Trains and BBQ


Swamp Boys Q School

Not a contest or festival, but if you want to learn how the pro's get it right, this is for you. This two-day BBQ techniques class could take you from beginner to winner. You'll learn a variety of skills including meat selection, marinades, cooking temps, sauces and flavor profiles.

You'll learn from the best too: Pitmaster Rug Bagby has been involved in over 390 BBQ contests.

When: 2020 Dates not yet announced
Where: 2400 Havendale Blvd, Winter Haven, Florida
Info: Swamp Boys Q School

Did we miss any Florida BBQ events or contests? Let us know and we'll add them to the list!

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Meet The Author
Our Florida journey began over 2 decades ago when we were searching for somewhere warm for winters. We discovered Florida was the perfect choice. We started spending every winter there and absolutely loved it. Orlando quickly became our permanent ‘winter home’. We were true Snowbirds! We decided to make our commitment a little more concrete in 2005 and bought our first vacation home – Serendipity at Indian Creek. We soon discovered we LOVED being in the hospitality world, so we decided to expand a little. We purchased Sleepy Hollow in 2010. Five years later we came across Serenity Lake House in 2015 and just had to have it to complete our portfolio. We now spend half the year on Disney’s doorstep in Orlando,. The rest of the time we're either in our second home in Scotland overlooking a beautiful Scottish Loch, or enjoying time with family in Cyprus. Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it? Ours is served with Pixie Dust on top :)
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