Tuesday, February 18, 2014

2nd Annual Houston Barbecue Festival

Last year's inaugural Houston Barbecue Festival was a fantastic event. (Use the "Houston" tag on the right column, for pictures and videos from the event.) It's time for Round 2! Unfortunately, I can't attend this year, but you should check it out. Here's the press release, with all the details:

WHAT: The 2nd Annual Houston Barbecue Festival will celebrate and recognize what is unique about Houston barbecue. Specifically, we want to:
    Recognize the talent, hard work, and dedication of the owners and pitmasters that make Houston barbecue great.
    Make the citizens of Houston (and Texas, and the U.S., etc.) aware of the long history of barbecue here and that the quality of Houston barbecue is comparable to other regional styles of barbecue.
    Make Houstonians true connoisseurs of barbecue by offering samples of great barbecue so they can choose to patronize those barbecue joints committed to only the highest quality of barbecue.
    Celebrate the diversity of Houston barbecue by including the many styles of barbecue found here.

WHEN: Sunday, April 6th, 2014 from 1:00-5:00pm. VIP Admission at 12pm.

WHERE: Reliant Park, Purple Lot. Parking entrance on South Main Street.

COST: General Admission ($50) includes entry into the festival and unlimited sample portions from each participating Houston barbecue joint. VIP Admission ($90) includes entry into the festival one hour early (at noon) and unlimited sample portions from each participating Houston barbecue joint. A T-shirt and one (1) drink ticket are also included. To ensure a quality event for everyone involved, ticket sales are limited. All tickets sold in advance, online at http://houbbq.com. No ticket sales at the door. A bar (beer and wine) and live music will also be included.

About the Houston Barbecue Festival
In its second year, the Houston Barbecue Festival will build on the success of the inaugural festival by including more Houston barbecue joints for a larger audience of Houston barbecue lovers. Expecting 20-24 barbecue joints and 2000-3000 guests, the event has moved to Reliant Park, one of the most prestigious and recognizable event venues in Houston.

This year's festival will feature most, if not all, of last year's list of the who's who of Houston's best barbecue. Currently confirmed are: Blake’s BBQ, The Brisket House, Brooks’ Place BBQ, CorkScrew BBQ, Fainmous BBQ, Gatlin’s BBQ, Gerardo’s, Killen's BBQ, Lenox Bar-B-Que, Pizzitola’s Bar-B-Cue, Ray’s BBQ Shack, and Tin Roof BBQ.

Additionally, the festival will include a few newcomers to the Houston barbecue scene: Feges BBQ, Oak Leaf Smokehouse, and Pappa Charlie's Barbeque. Baker's Ribs, a veteran of the Houston barbecue scene, will also be a new participant this year. 

Also new for 2014 will be a lineup of select out-of-town barbecue guests who will be rolling into Houston to showcase their barbecue side-by-side with Houston's best. More details on this at a later date.

Additionally, staff from Texas A&M University's BBQ Genius Counter will be answering attendees' questions about all things barbecue, backyard or otherwise.

Returning as a founding sponsor, Texas Original Pits will have a selection of their Houston-made smokers, grills, and fire pits for sale. 

Charitable Partner
The Houston Barbecue Festival has partnered with Vita-Living, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency in Houston, Texas that has supported people with disabilities for over 30 years. They currently serve almost 500 clients in seven counties through their residential, case management and foster companion care services. Vita-Living is recognized as a leading proponent of integrated community living and an expert in the care of individuals with complex disabilities and behavioral challenges.

"We were looking for a partner in an under-served charitable area," explained Chris Reid, festival organizer. "Public funding for care of those with disabilities has decreased considerably in recent years. So, on behalf of the Houston Barbecue Festival staff, restaurants, volunteers, and sponsors, we are happy to contribute a portion of all tickets sales and sponsorships to help Vita-Living in this important mission."

The needs of Vita-Living’s clients will not go away. They continue to be vulnerable throughout their lives and require lifelong services. For that reason, 88 cents out of every dollar donated to the agency goes towards the lifelong care of Houstonians with disabilities.

"I'm so happy that Vita-Living can support the local flavor of barbecue in this great city," said Jillian Day, Director of Development at Vita-Living. "We're very grateful for the opportunity to partner with another organization that represents the best of what this city offers; namely, opportunity and innovation. It will also be a great way to recognize our volunteers since everyone loves great food."

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