- Rose Kennedy For the AJC
The only thing better than the delicious smell and luscious taste of Georgia barbecue is having a whole festival dedicated to enjoying it.
Late summer is prime barbecue festival time in the Atlanta area and surrounding regions. Even though the ever-popular Atlanta BAR-B-Q Festival has announced it is postponing its usual late-summer gathering in favor of one in Spring 2018, die-hard smoked meats fans have lots of 'que to anticipate.
Start with this list of six late-summer barbecue festivals across the state:
Gates open 9 a.m. Aug. 4 and 5. Dillard City Hall Fairgrounds, 892 Franklin St., Dillard. Two-day pass: $25, One-day pass: $15, children 12 and under free
If you're willing to travel two hours or so for fine barbecue (and that seems reasonable for true BBQ lovers), this fete is a simple concept finely executed. The festival pairs great music and Kansas City Barbeque Society contests in the mountains about two hours from Atlanta. The 2017 lineup includes Balsam Range, Foxfire Boys, Sons of the South and many more, so put on your toe-tapping shoes and pack some wet wipes.
Decatur BBQ Festival
Saturday, Aug. 12, 630 East Lake Drive and Harmony Park, adjacent to the intersection of East Lake Drive and Oakview Road in downtown Oakhurst. $12 until midnight August 12th, day of festival $20 with kids 12 and under free.The classic Southern BBQ festival with all the best smoked sensations and more than seven hours of original live blues and bluegrass. This one's for the fam. Transportation via the East Lake MARTA station is highly recommended.
6-10 p.m. Friday, August 25 and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, August 26. Kennesaw Adams Park, 2753 Watts Drive, Kennesaw. 770-422-9714. Admission and entertainment free.
Pigs and Peaches has grown into one of Georgia's most beloved festivals, so expect to inhale that luscious BBQ scent with 65,000 other barbecue die-hards. Highlights include the Georgia state championship event for the KCBS-sanctioned professional BBQ contest with $10,000 total in prizes, a hotly contested backyard contest and Kids' Que Cookoff for ages 7-15. Also for the young folks: a "Pigtales" short story or essay contest with the theme of making the world a better place. Prizes for that include tickets to area attractions, t-shirts and goodie bags and a bicycle for the first-place winner in each category. Printed entries must be postmarked by Aug. 14 and mailed to Cobb Schools Foundation, Attention: Natalie Rutledge, 514 Glover St., Marietta, GA 30060,. Include a signed copy of the release agreement.
Two more Georgia barbcue festivals happening later in September:
The kids may be back in school but there will still be an endless summer feel to these festivals that happen mid-September:
Blue Ridge Blues and BBQ Festival
5:30-7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 14, 7 p.m.-9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15, East Main Street, and 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, Willow Creek Falls, 35 Trackside Lane, Blue Ridge, Downtown Blue Ridge City Park, 350 Gray St., Blue Ridge, $5 admission for Saturday, 12 and under free
The fine mountain folks of Blue Ridge allow three days for pigging out, beginning with an after-hours kickoff Thursday and seguing into a Friday night Blues Crawl through eight restaurants downtown Friday. Saturday's fest draws the whole family for blues galore from bands like Frankie's Blues Mission from Atlanta and 10 local and regional vendors serving culinary marvels in the barbecue category with cold beer, Coke or Dasani water to wash it down. It's just in time for a late late summer weekend getaway.
Noon-8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 16, Lawrenceville Lawn, 210 Luckie St., Lawrenceville. 678-407-6598. Free to attend; food and goods for sale.
The lovely Lawrenceville Lawn is the hot spot for this KCB-sanctioned cookoff. Enjoy the Q to the sounds of live music and check out the Kid's Riblet Zone and other family fun.
Smokin' Up the Mountain
12 p.m.-8 p.m., Sept. 2, 30 Highland Xing, Ellijay.
A fairly recent entry to the Georgia barbecue festival circuit, BBQ and Brews puts on this gathering dedicated to regional BBQ, local craft beer and mountain music. Details provided as the festival gets closer.