Make your way to these finger-licking barbecue festivals near Atlanta

  • Rose Kennedy
  • For the AJC
10:16 a.m. Tuesday, July 26, 2016 Atlanta Events

Check out the 2017 barbecue festivals here.

The sizzling, hickory-smoked scent of  barbecue season is upon us.

Barbecue diehards have a lot to look forward to in the next couple of months.

Here are four of the best barbecue festivals on the calendar, all of them within an hour's drive of Atlanta.

Atlanta Bar-B-Q Festival
4 -10 p.m. Friday, August 12; Noon-8 p.m. Saturday, August 13. 4400 Ashford Dunwoody Road NE, Dunwoody. Admission $8 advance, $12 day of the show

Great BBQ and lots of it, right here in the ATL. Atlanta's top BBQ restaurants are sending envoys to serve up their specialties and 30 competitive barbecue teams from across the region are also competing for bragging rights.There are two chances to purchase samples: Friday starting at 6 p.m. you can buy $2 chicken drumsticks at participating team booths and Saturday starting at 1 p.m. you can buy $1 Taste of the Pig samples.A separate Bourbon Experience ticket lets you sip a selection of more than 25 premium bourbons, not something you'll find at just any BBQ festival. The festival also features rock, blues and bluegrass; an interactive kids play spot; and lots of cooking demonstrations. Remember it's cash only for the samples. And don't dawdle either day, because it's a "while supplies last" sort of thing. If you're really into it but loathe to pay admission, there are still some event volunteer spots open.

11 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Saturday, August 20. The Classic Center, 300 N. Thomas St., Athens. 
$25 ticket includes 10 craft beer and six barbecue samples; $10 tickets include just the BBQ, $5 tickets for kids 10 and under available at the door.

Just the kind of thing Atlanta's scholarly neighbors in Athens do so well: barbecue, craft beer and live music outdoors. Get there early for the one-mile Piggle Wiggle Fun Run at 10 a.m.

6 -10 p.m. Friday, August 26 and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, August 27. Kennesaw Adams Park, 2518 Park Drive NW, Kennesaw. 770-422-9714 x3205. Admission and entertainment free.

Kennesaw hosts this Georgia BBQ Championship event. Both the pro and backyard competitions are fierce and the tasters are the beneficiaries. Live music, beer for sale, a kid zone with some free inflatables and a peach dessert contest add even more fun. Plan to stay late on Saturday since fireworks close the festivities.

Blue Ridge Blues and BBQ Festival
5- 8 p.m., Thursday, Willow Creek Falls, 35 Trackside Ln, Blue Ridge, Sept. 15, 6 p.m. to midnight Friday, Sept. 16, East Main Street, and noon - 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17,  Downtown Blue Ridge City Park,  350 Gray St., Blue Ridge.

The event kicks off with a blues crawl through Blue Ridge venues on Friday night and never lets up. Come hungry! Ten local and regional vendors serve their barbecue taste sensations and many wines, American beers and local craft beers are also available for purchase.

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