This year’s Sip & Swine BBQ Festival will take place March 3 and 4 — 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. both Friday and Saturday — at Coolray Field. Organizers are already predicting that it will be their largest event to date.
Amateur and professional BBQ competitors from 12 states and two continents are already preparing for the event. The two-day festival also includes live performances by local bands, a variety of food and craft vendors and family-friendly activities.
Admission and parking are free. All proceeds benefit Home of Hope at Gwinnett Children’s Shelter, a local charity devoted to the well-being of homeless children, their young mothers and teens aging out of the foster care system.
“As word spreads year after year, we not only experience larger crowds, but also increased interest from competitors, vendors, bands and sponsors,” said Jim Lloyd, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Home of Hope, organizer of the Sip & Swine BBQ Festival, and CEO of Lawrenceville-based InsuranceHub Leavitt Agency.
“For the first time in the festival’s history, we have already hit our cap on competitors, and we have one team joining us from all the way in Australia! From here in the U.S., we have a dozen states represented, including competition teams from all over the South and some of our Northern and Midwestern neighbors like New York, Maryland, Ohio and Illinois.”
Since 1987, the Sip & Swine BBQ Festival has raised $742,000 on behalf of Home of Hope at Gwinnett Children’s Shelter, a residential care facility that works to end the cycle of homelessness two generations at a time. Proceeds from competition fees, vendors fees, raffle ticket sales and the purchase of People’s Choice Taster Kits support Home of Hope’s mission.
“The need is very real here in Gwinnett,” added Lloyd. “2,000 kids in the Gwinnett County Public School System identify as homeless, and as access to affordable housing continues to decline, those numbers are expected to grow.”
Lloyd suggested that attendees who wish to impact Home of Hope directly purchase a People’s Choice Taster Kit for $12 each. “They’ll get to sample from nine randomly selected competitors and share their personal pick for favorite. It’s good food for a good cause,” he explained.”
The People’s Choice Tasting will be held Saturday, March 4, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Marking its fourth year, Sip & Swine welcomes back its Kids Q Competition for aspiring chefs aged 6 to 15. For a $25 entry fee, pre-registered pint-sized pit masters will have an opportunity to compete at the festival.
To kick off the event on Friday, March 3, 80+ craft and 40 food vendors will sell their goods as 110+ BBQ competition teams set up, 3-9 p.m. Live music will be performed 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Festivities on Saturday, March 4 include:
- 10 a.m. — Open to public with food and craft vendors, face painting, Fur Kids pet adoptions
- 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. — The Jonathan Ingram Band performs
- 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. — People’s Choice BBQ Tasting
- 12:30-1:45 p.m. — The Midland Station Band performs
- 2-3:15 p.m. — Dock Rock Radio performs
- 3:30-5 p.m. — Pickup Line performs
- 5 p.m. — BBQ awards ceremony
Coolray Field is located at 2500 Buford Drive in Lawrenceville. For additional info or to sign on as a vendor, sponsor or volunteer, visit sipandswine.com. To learn more about Home of Hope at Gwinnett Children’s Shelter or make a direct donation, go to homeofhopegcs.org.