Thousands attend 36th BBQ Festival on the Neuse

KINSTON, NC (WITN) The 36th Annual BBQ Festival on the Neuse wrapped up Saturday after two full days of food and fun.

Organizers say the crowd was even bigger than the 40,000 to 50,000 people that were expected to attend.

Crystal Taylor said, "just the atmosphere, it's just fun, seeing all the people in the community get together it's fun!"

Judging for the annual barbecue cooking contest began at 8am Saturday.

Teams could enter into one of two categories, either backyard or professional.

Teams were judged based on appearance, taste, temperature and overall product.

Pigs could only be cooked using oil, salt and pepper. Judges then had the option to try each team's homemade sauce too.

For many, the event wasn't only about the contest.

"Just people coming together to enjoy each other's company and tell stories and visit and sit around and cook and it's just a really great time to be had by everybody," said Chris Canuette, a cooker with VFW Post 2771 BBQ Team.

Plates went on sale for $8 at 11am and were gone by 5pm.

Kinston-Lenoir Chamber of Commerce President Laura Lee Sylvester said, "Kinston just has spirit and I have to tell you they come out, they survive whatever and a little bit of rain really doesn't scare them away."

WITN is a proud sponsor of the BBQ Festival on the Neuse.


If you're looking for great family fun and barbecue, then Kinston is the place to be Saturday.

The BBQ Festival on the Neuse continues Saturday.

BBQ goes on sale starting at 11:00 a.m. until it runs out.

In addition to being able to buy it at the festival downtown, you can also purchase it at the Vernon Park Mall.

A shuttle will also be running from the mall to the festival.

Amusement rides open at 11:00 a.m.

From 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. the Southern Sides competition and Sauce Boss competition take place.

There will also be music throughout the day and vendors selling all kinds of festival food.

WITN is a proud sponsor of the event and we hope you'll stop by our tent and say hello.

You can find a full schedule of events by clicking on the related link.


Kinston is expecting 40,000 people to visit Friday and Saturday for the BBQ Festival on the Neuse.

Some activities and events got underway earlier this week, including the amusement rides, which started on Wednesday.

Friday the cook teams will arrive and set up. The annual Chamber Burgers and Brew will take place, vendors market will open, as will the arts market.

There will be an artfest, Carolina Classic Cruisers cruise in, beer and wine garden, music by the band Supersonic at 7:30, along with the showmanship competition.

Saturday includes a full day of activities again with BBQ going on sale at 11:00 a.m.

WITN is a proud sponsor of the festival and we'll be there throughout the weekend so we hope you'll stop by and say hello.

You can also click on the related link for a full schedule of events.