Blooming BBQ Festival


You might think that this would be news to us, but we’re just now getting wind of the Blooming BBQ Music & Food Festival featuring the Tennessee State Championship BBQ Cookoff.

Now in its 19th annual return to downtown Sevierville TN, this is just one of the big BBQ events that will take place this year May 19-20, 2023.

What is the Blooming BBQ Festival all about?

Blooming BBQ Festival 2023 date and timing

Well obviously folks, it’s all about great food, music, barbecue, family, and good old-fashioned festival fun that is one of the few festivals you’ll find -that offers free admission. The event is centered in downtown Sevierville around the historic Sevierville County Courthouse along West Bruce Street and Court Avenue. This two-day event begins on May 19 (Friday) from 5pm to 10pm and May 20 (Saturday) from 10am to 10pm.

As you can expect, there will be plenty of street vendors selling a variety of food and drink along with free tours, local entertainment, arts and crafts, and competitions including the KCBS-sponsored and certified barbecue cook-off. If you’re already certified for being an official KCBS judge, don’t hesitate to come on down this year and help with judging this year’s event. If you’re looking for more information on where to park or where to stay, Here is more info.

A Great Smoky Mountain Tradition

When you mention the Great Smokey Mountains you can’t take more than a moment to think that there won’t be some special surprise guests. In past years, the country singing legend Dolly Parton has played a big part in the Blooming BBQ Festival since Dollywood isn’t that much of a stone’s throw from Sevierville. In fact, it’s only 15 minutes south by car.

If you aren’t a fan of Dolly, she and her siblings grew up in Sevierville, so it only makes sense that she’ll surely return. And, if you aren’t very interested in traveling all the way to Denmark to see The Little Mermaid statue, you can see ‘Dolly’s version’ of her singing her siren songs on a rock right on the front lawn of the Sevierville County Courthouse. But if you’re a die-hard fan of barbecue like we are, then you’ll also want to keep an eye peeled for KCBS Pitmasters including Mad Dog BBQ, Music City Smoke, and Piglitically Incorrect BBQ. As if that wasn’t enough, this festival will also host the annual Mountain Soul Vocal Competition that celebrates the spirit of Dolly Parton with local and national singing hopefuls who are looking to hit the big time. It’s hard to beat Dolly’s record with over 3000 recorded and published songs along with numerous top-ranking hits, but if you’re looking to honor Dolly with a song you feel would make her proud, this competition is for you.

What can you expect this year?

BBQ competition Blooming BBQ Festival

It’s not often that you actually get to enjoy the delicacies that seasoned Pitmasters are preparing for these competitions, but this year you can. A total of four barbecue teams participating in the competition will also be selling their championship BBQ to the public for a rare chance to see how good their barbecue skills really are. As far as we know, not too many KCBS competitions are going this far to please their attendees.

Entertainment and musical lineups

Nothing says an authentic barbecue festival atmosphere like the music that comes from Bluegrass and Americana-style bands that bring their unique brand of nostalgia to any event. With this year’s Blooming BBQ Festival, you can count on nothing short of real American-style live bands that will grace more than two stages that and feature many local bands and special guests to entertain everyone for both scheduled days.

Last but not least

Bush’s Best Baked Beans Banner

You already know this is a KCBS-sanctioned event however you might not know there is $17,500 in cash and prizes that are sponsored by Bush’s Best Baked Beans -up for grabs this year. The categories you can see this year include Beef Brisket, Chicken, Pork Ribs, and Pork, and further include sausage entries as well. Winning teams will be announced on Saturday, May 20th at 4pm sharp- so be there or be square…

Don’t hesitate to check out the festivities that await you in downtown Sevierville this year. It will certainly be worth joining a proud tradition that makes local folks in Tennessee glad to see you coming out to support a great cause and (as always) a great barbecue competition.

See more about BBQ events in and around the Memphis area.

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