FAQ’s

FAQ's

Who is behind the Tri City BBQ Fest?
This is a non-profit event created by the Chamber & Development Council of Crawford County (CDC, a non-profit organization) with the support of the Denison Tourism Board, Crawford County Tourism, CDC members, the City of Denison and numerous sponsors and volunteers. The Fest is a 100% non-profit event.

Why did you create the Tri City BBQ Fest?
Because we love BBQ! (Also to market our wonderful community, attract visitors, raise community pride, thank our meat-industry employers, claim our position between 3 major metros  and welcome millions of dollars in economic impact from tourism within our community.)

When is the event?
Friday, September 22nd starting at 5pm. AND Saturday, September 23rd starting at 10am. See the current schedule here.

What time will you begin closing streets on Friday?
Actually, in 2017 we will begin to close Main St. from 1st Ave. S. to Broadway on THURSDAY evening. Friday at 8am we will close essentially every other street designated on the map. Crawford County Bank will allow drive-thru traffic until noon if vehicles enter from N. Main. The areas for V.I.P. parking (see map) will close by 2pm, so all cars must be gone by then.

Where will I park?
In years past we offered a shuttle from the Fairgrounds but usage was very low. There will be no such shuttle in 2017, however, there will be a Western Iowa Transit vehicle driving around the neighborhoods near the festival as visitors arrive. Flag it down and jump aboard if you had to park a few blocks away. You may also see golf carts giving rides to people who have trouble walking long distances.

At certain times of the Fest (see the map for more info), you can park in “V.I.P. Parking” for just $5 each evening (while it lasts). DO NOT park overnight in V.I.P. Parking Friday night, as the car show starts first thing Saturday morning.

There are many public spaces in the neighborhoods surrounding Uptown Denison, just a short walk from Uptown. Many visitors know someone here, park at their house and walk over. Visitors in years past are surprised that parking somehow isn’t that difficult.

How much is admission?
Admission to the festival and all concerts is free. You will need to buy BBQ Bucks at the event to purchase almost everything: food, rides, soda, beer, etc. One dollar will get you one ticket. If other businesses are on site taking cash only, they will be marked as such.

How many BBQ competitors will you have?
We will allow up to 40 BBQ competitors to compete for the $11,000 in prize money.

Will I be able to eat BBQ at the event?
Uh, yeah! We will have full-time BBQ vendors serving up all kinds of tasty smoked meats. However, the BBQ competitors cook only for selected KCBS judges, with the exception of the People’s Choice competition on Saturday. At People’s Choice, our visitors walk right up to become judges and choose the winner! See the schedule to make sure you are there.

Do you have non-BBQ food vendors?
Yes! In addition to BBQ, there’s also a variety of other food including asian, Mexican, burgers and many other treats.

Can I bring coolers or my own food/drink to the concert?
No. It is not fair to our wonderful vendors to allow outside food or drink. Anyone caught breaking these rules will be asked to leave the festival.

Can I bring my own chair to the concert?
Yes, but you must stay in the designated areas and please stay off the sidewalks.

Where can I bring my beer, wine or other drinks I buy at the Fest?
Good news! You can take adult beverages anywhere within the Fest perimeter with the exceptions of the kids areas and the BBQ competition areas. This means you can roam the majority of Uptown including the concert area, vendor and dining areas, and the car show on Saturday. Cheers!

Are kids welcome?
Of course! We will have lots of things for kids to enjoy. Our stage content is generally very family-friendly as we ask our performers to keep it “PG-13”. Please research the acts playing if you are unsure about bringing young children to the concerts.

Are dogs welcome?
We love dogs! (Did you know Denison is fundraising for an amazing dog park?) Bring those pups on over as long as you follow the following rules: 1.) Clean up any mess like a good dog owner. 2.) Be sure your pup is well behaved and good with large crowds. 3.) Keep them on a SHORT leash at all times (no extension leashes). 4.) Most businesses will not allow dogs inside.

Are bicycles welcome?
Yes, you can ride TO the fest, but please do not ride THROUGH the fest — it is too dangerous with the large crowds we have. Please lock up your bike at the edge and come on in! Denison is a pro-cycling community. We have miles of paved trails and host “Manilla Madness” each year – a 26 mile ride through the county’s scenic hills. We have even applied to be a RAGBRAI host community in 2018. Wish us luck!

Is smoking permitted at the event?
Smoking is permitted within designated areas only. Please be respectful of your fellow visitors and look for the signs. Please do not throw your cigarette butts on the ground. We appreciate it.

Will there be places to sit?
There will be lots of picnic tables near the food vendors and around the concert area. Feel free to bring your camp chair to the designated area near the stage (See map. Limited room – first come, first served).

What if the weather turns nasty?
Hold on to your hats! This is a rain-or-shine event. Septembers in Iowa typically mean any storms are scattered and usually pass quickly. Take shelter and plan on coming back when it passes.

Where should Uptown businesses tell their workers to park?
Just like previous years, parking in Uptown will be very limited. Carpooling or being dropped off for Friday work is highly encouraged.

Are businesses in Uptown going to be open during the event?
Definitely! It is a great time to shop our wonderful merchants. See the map for some visitor favorites. We are encouraging retail businesses across town to stay open longer and have more staff to handle the potential for increased business. That being said, some service-related businesses in Uptown will have more limited hours.

Where is the concert area?
The concert area is right in the heart of Uptown at Broadway and Main. Take a look at the map here.

Will it be loud? How late will the music go?
Yes, it will be quite loud across town, especially near Uptown. This is the welcome tradeoff for having lots of visitors coming to town. The music will stop by 11pm Friday and Midnight Saturday.

Will there be fireworks this year?
No.

Will it be fun?
Yes!