Just a few miles from campus, one large-scale barbeque event is hoping guests will be in hog heaven.

The annual BBQ Blowout will be held at the Oviedo Mall — about 10 minutes away from UCF's campus — on May 22 and May 23, and will feature live entertainment, craft brews and childrens activities.

With help from Sonny's BBQ and other local sponsors, the BBQ Blowout has been awarded in the top 10 Memorial Day BBQs in the United States, and was awarded Best New Event of the Year by the Seminole County Convention & Visitors Bureau in 2013.

There will be BBQ tours, food demonstrations by Cavallari Gourmet and professional and amateur BBQ Grill masters. There will be teams competing and an opportunity to try their BBQ. The grand champion will get a ticket to the World Food Championship in Las Vegas.

The Florida BBQ Association event is produced by the Oviedo-Winter Springs Regional Chamber of Commerce and Helpful Hands Inc., a local non-profit to help children and families in crisis. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Helpful Hands.

"Last year for Helpful Hands, we were able to give them $6,000 for their mission, which was awesome," said Bridget Lake, senior director of sponsorships and events.

On May 22, Bailey Callahan, Bubba Wilson and Jeff Howell Band will be performing. Franc Robert, Greye, JB Crockett Band, Lauren Marie Band and Buddy Blues Band will be taking the stage on May 23.

BBQ Blowout is sponsored by Look Local to provide a fun-filled day of BBQ, music, family fun and local business, according to the event's website.

Although admission is free, cash is encouraged because food, beverages and items from vendors will be available for purchase. BBQ bucks are used instead of cash, sold in one-dollar increments and can be purchased at ticket booths.

"I think this area has been wanting an event like this for a long time. This is right in our backyard. A few people have tried to start a BBQ event before, but with the committee and the amazing people who have supported us, we have all grouped together and made it happen," Lake said.


Bridgette Norris is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @blogginbridge email her at

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