Kentucky State BBQ Festival
One of Danville’s newest traditions is the Kentucky State BBQ Festival, launched in 2011. During the two-day event, pitmasters from all over the United States converge on Danville’s Constitution Square to cook up mouthwatering barbecue for festival-goers.
The first BBQ Festival was an overwhelming success. Organizers hoped to attract between 5,000 and 10,000 people and ended up drawing more than 25,000.
“We were excited and proud to have such a huge crowd, but we ran out of food the first day. We had to go out and buy more meat and put it on to cook overnight for the next day,” says Brad Simmons, co-founder of the Kentucky State BBQ Festival.
About 40,000 people showed up for the second BBQ Festival in 2012 and sampled barbecue from six pitmasters from Florida, New York, Iowa, Tennessee and Mississippi. Live blues and Southern rock bands provided entertainment.
“People are passionate about barbecue. It’s something that crosses every economic, racial and social line,” Simmons says. “When people start smelling the smoke, they relax and have a good time. With all the fast food and fast technology today, it’s nice to settle down and do something that’s slow. Good barbecue can’t be rushed.”
The 2013 BBQ Festival is slated for the second weekend of September and will be even bigger than before.
“We plan to have eight or nine pitmasters to help handle the crowd,” Simmons says.