Venice Dish


Local Culinary News

Venice to Host Florida BBQ State Championship in April 2014

September 20, 2013

suncoast bbq logoGreat news for BBQ lovers! Venice will host the 2014 Florida BBQ State Championship at the Venice Municipal Airport Festival Grounds.  If you love BBQ, you probably already have the Suncoast BBQ & Bluegrass Bash, scheduled for next April 18-19, on your radar.  The Florida BBQ Association board of directors decision to add the state BBQ championship to the Suncoast event adds major excitement to an already popular festival.

The Florida BBQ Championship contest has national significance and is expected to bring welcome publicity and revenue to the Venice area.  It serves as a qualifying contest for the Food Network's World Food Championship in Las Vegas, known to many barbecue connoisseurs as the Super Bowl of barbecue contests.  Like last year, the contest also hosts qualifiers for the Jack Daniels World BBQ Championship and the American Royal World Series of BBQ and the high quality of BBQ entries is expected to continue this year.  Myron Mixon of Discovery Channel's BBQ Pitmasters may appear at the 2014 bash, as he did last year.  Florida is known for producing some of the best barbecue cooks in the country, according to organizers, and the competition should be fierce.

Suncoast BBQ organizers already had a top bluegrass musical line up in place, which helped sway the state organization to hold the championship here. The Boxcars and Balsam Range, two acts with national followings, are scheduled to perform during the 2-day festival.

Last year, the Suncoast BBQ & Bluegrass Bash attracted 10,000 visitors and organizers are hoping for 15,000 this year with the advance publicity surrounding the state championship.  This event sounds like a win-win situation for Venice and for the Bash’s official charity, the Suncoast Foundation for Handicapped Children.  Last year's event raised about $45,000, according to organizers, and this year’s donation will likely be more.

So, plan to walk, drive your car, ride your bike or land your plane at the Venice Airport next April 13-14.  In addition to championship barbecue and great music, there will be a chili cook off, dessert bake-off, cornhole tournament, a golf outing and kids’ activities.  This event promises to be a highlight of the 2014 season.  Ready to compete?  You can download an application at the Suncoast BBQ website (

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