BBQ, Blues & Brews Festival

The sweet smell of barbecue will fill the air in Elizabethton this fall, as the city launches its first-ever BBQ, Blues and Brews festival.

Set for Saturday, September 23, 4:30-9 p.m. at the community’s picturesque Covered Bridge Park in downtown Elizabethton, festival co-chair and a board member of the Elizabethton/Carter County Community Foundation (ECCCF), Amos Brown says he is excited about the event — one he sees as having tremendous growth potential.

“We have talked about having something like this for quite a while,” Brown said. “It’s something we believe people of all ages will enjoy, and it is also a fundraiser for a great cause.”

The “cause” Brown refers to is the historic Bonnie Kate Theater, located in the heart of Elizabethton. The facility, now owned by the City of Elizabethton, is undergoing a transformation and the ECCCF, an affiliate of the East Tennessee Foundation, is hosting the event. The organization was instrumental in raising funds for the purchase of the building.

“Now we need to keep going,” Brown said. “This festival’s revenues will go toward making sure the Bonnie Kate has a new roof, something that has to be taken care of before we can continue making even more improvements. This event will really make a difference as we work to establish a community arts center.”

The event will include a 5K and Fun Run starting at 4 p.m., as well as the dining event which begins at 4:30 p.m. — complete with live music, and lots of great food.

Seven regional restaurants will “pit” the best of their barbecue samples against one another, vying for diners’ votes and the bragging rights to be named Best of Show. They include J’s Corner, the SmokeHouse BBQ Company, and Jiggy Ray’s — all from Carter County, as well as Southern Craft, Moe’s Original BBQ and Hokie Smokie of Johnson City; and Wayne’s Barbecue from Kingsport.

The local award-winning Americana-Roots-Rock-Fusion band called My New Favorites is scheduled to perform at the BBQ, Blues & Brews Festival.

In addition to barbecue samples, each competitor is encouraged to bring a unique small plate to the event. And, for your sweet tooth, Food City will be on hand, providing dessert to round out the meal.

Mimi’s Food Truck & Kona Ice will also be parked downtown for patrons wanting something different, at an additional charge.

“You won’t need to move quickly from place to place,” Brown said. “Everyone will have ample time to leisurely sample the food during the 3-1/2 hours it will be served. Guests can enter the park at 4:30 p.m., and last call for food will be at 8 p.m. During that time, we hope everyone will have a great time, enjoying the food, the live music, the park’s beautiful setting and good friends.”

All diners will also be given a BBQ Ballot to vote for their favorite. The winner will be announced near the end of the event.

Although the Covered Bridge Park has seating already available, with bleachers and picnic tables, Brown also encourages guests to bring their own chairs, blankets, etc., to set up their own picnic areas.

A collaborative Folk Rock band called This Mountain is scheduled to perform at the BBQ, Blues & Brews Festival.

Sponsors for the event include: Stage Sponsor, Med-Trans Air Medical Transport; Level 1 Race Sponsor: Carter County Bank; Level 2 Race Sponsor: Sycamore-Shoals Hospital and Nor-Well;

Level 3 Race Sponsor: LaPorte & Norris, Happy Valley Memorial Park, Edward Jones – Jonathan Street, Cates Music, Security Federal Bank, and Central Paper. 

Beer Vendors for the event are YeeHaw and Best Brands Distribution, who plan to bring TailGate Beer, a craft beer from Nashville with several unique flavored beers.

BBQ, Blues & Brews tickets are available for $30 (includes 3 beer vouchers); BBQ & Blues Tickets, (without beer) are $20. Festival tickets can also be purchased at the Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce. Festival, 5K/Fun Run registration as well as discounted Run/Festival combo tickets are available at

For more information, contact Brown at 423-278-6207; or Jared Tetrick, 423-341-3459;

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