Apple Blossom BBQ

April 25, 2019

Photography by Patrick Evenson


DEFINITION: Filled with or smelling of smoke; having the taste or aroma of smoked food.

Editor’s Note: This story was written in preparation for the 2019 Apple Blossom BBQ. Unfortunately the 2020 and 2021 BBQs were cancelled but we look forward to seeing you at the 2022 BBQ!

The 13th annual Apple Blossom BBQ Contest is less than a month away and plans are underway to make the event another success for St. Joseph. St. Joseph Community Branding, or the “Made With Uncommon Character” campaign, is leading the Kansas City Barbecue Society-sanctioned event for the second time.

“This event is important to our city because it brings in competitive barbecue teams from all over the Midwest,” said Kristi Bailey, campaign director. “While we love the extra tourists the contest brings, it’s also a great event for our own residents. St. Joseph has much to be proud of, including all of the activities that happen Apple Blossom weekend.”

It’s free to attend, but attendees are encouraged to buy food and drinks. No outside food and drinks are allowed from the public. The 2019 event took place from 5 to 10 p.m., Friday, May 3, and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., May 4 at Civic Center Park, 1100 Frederick Ave.

Friday night attendees will be able to sample the competitors’ barbecue with the People’s Choice contest. For $10, taste at least 15 samples and vote for who will win the People’s Choice Award. Food and drink vendors also will be on hand offering a variety of food for the whole family.

“While it’s fun to watch the BBQ teams compete like how you see on Food Network, it’s also a great chance to enjoy the outdoors and listen to live music,” said Beth Conway, BBQ chairperson. “After the extreme winter and then flooding our area has endured, everyone is ready for some outdoor fun for adults and kids during Apple Blossom weekend.”

Local favorite, 80s cover band Blue Oyster Culture Club (BOCC) breaks out of its winter hibernation to perform Friday night. A&M Amusements will have a bull for adults to ride on Friday night and bounce houses and obstacle courses for kids to burn off the sugar after the Apple Blossom parade on Saturday. Kids can do all of the inflatable fun on Saturday, as many times as they want, for a $10 wristband.

This year the Apple Blossom BBQ is partnering with Hy-Vee to prolong the barbecue fun on Saturday. After the Apple Blossom BBQ, head out to Hy-Vee, 201 N. Belt Highway, from 3 to 6 p.m. for its Backyard BBQ. Barbecue will be available for sale, Liberty Cap Brewing beer will be available, as well as kids activities and a performance from 3 to 5 by the Beatles Tribute Trio. Special appearances by Apple Blossom BBQ winners are scheduled.

The 2019 weekend schedule is:

Friday, May 3 at Civic Center Park

  • 5 to 10 p.m. Park open to the public for food, drink and retail vendors
  • 5:30 to 8 p.m. People’s Choice Tasting
  • 7 to 10 p.m. Music by Blue Oyster Culture Club

Saturday, May 5 at Civic Center Park

  • 9:30 to 11 a.m. Apple Blossom Parade from Noyes & Frederick to Fourth & Felix Downtown
  • 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Live Radio Remote by KKJO at Civic Center Park
  • 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Park open to the public for food, drink and retail vendors, kids activities by A&M Amusements
  • 3 to 3:30 p.m. BBQ Competition Awards Presentation at Civic Center Park
  • 3 to 6 p.m. Backyard BBQ at Hy-Vee

There is still time to sign up to participate as a BBQ Team and be a vendor at the event. Visit www.uncommoncharacter.com/apple-blossom-bbq for more information on the event or for information to how to register as a team or vendor.

Thanks to Triumph Foods, Presenting Sponsor; Mosaic Life Care, Uncommon Character Tent Sponsor; Hy-Vee, Grand Championship Sponsor; and St. Jo Frontier Casino, Entertainment Sponsor. For additional sponsors, see the website.

St. Joseph Community Branding LLC consists of the following coordinating partners: St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce, Mosaic Life Care, St. Joseph School District, St. Joseph Convention & Visitors Bureau, Missouri Western State University and the City of St. Joseph.


Apple Blossom BBQ


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