Massive BBQ competition and festival, Sunshine City Smokeout, arrives in February

BBQ, bourbon, and beer – the inaugural Sunshine City Smokeout is bringing a BBQ competition for the ages to the St. Pete Pier. Part festival and part cook-off, the Sunshine City Smokeout is taking place Saturday, February 11 from 12-9 pm at the pier’s Spa Beach Park overlooking Tampa Bay.

Organizers says guests will be able to enjoy specialty offerings from local, regional, and national BBQ teams as they stroll their way around the festival and vote for the best food items. Voting categories include everything from pulled pork and ribs, to house made sausages and sauces. There will also be live local and regional bands performing the best of country music and southern rock.

Early bird VIP tickets are available for $65 ($90 at the door), which include access to a VIP area with shade and lounge seating, and two drink tickets within the VIP Experience area. GA tickets are $10 for early bird and $20 at the door, which include access to the event, as well as re-entry privileges.

For the food itself, the BBQ teams will be offering an array of options available for purchase, from smaller samplers for a few bucks, to entire platters full of smoked meats and their tasty sides. There will also be a wide variety of bourbon and beer from local, regional and national distilleries and breweries.

The VIP area is limited to 21+, and guests of any age are allowed to attend the main field, while anyone 12 or older must purchase a ticket. Learn more and get tickets at

Bob Carskadon: Bob Carskadon is a writer with a background in journalism and an interest in the shared experiences of sports, food, drink, and art. Originally from Mississippi, he swapped catfish for grouper and now calls Florida home.