Pitmasters call barbecue the social glue that brings people together. Which goes without saying for a meal you can smell – with universally mouthwatering allure – from several blocks away. Whatever their favorite sauce, smoke or style, Americans can’t get enough of this time-tested, albeit somewhat time-consuming, national cuisine. On Saturday, July 13, 2024, follow your nose to the annual South Sound BBQ Festival at Huntamer Park in Lacey hosted by the Lacey South Sound Chamber.

Large crowd mingles through tents at  the Lacey South Sound BBQ Festival
The family-friendly BBQ Festival is free to attend but come hungry and ready to shop, dance to live music on two stages and mingle with old friends and new. Photo courtesy: Lacey South Sound Chamber

Enjoy Food, Friends and Fun at the South Sound BBQ Festival

The South Sound BBQ Festival runs from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. with the 21+ beer garden open from 12 p.m. until 8 p.m. It’s free to attend but bring your trusty reusable shopping bag and a few extra dollars to support small businesses and delicious food vendors.

Blake Knoblauch, the Lacey South Sound Chamber’s executive director, says they expect 20,000 attendees to explore and enjoy more than a dozen food trucks, booths from local merchants and a Kids Zone with plenty of crafts and bounce houses. There will be two stages of live music throughout the day, a centralized mainstage and another within the designated beer garden.

“It’s a wonderful festival for the community,” says Knoblauch, “and it brings guests from up and down the I-5 corridor. If you love barbecue, come out and enjoy this family-friendly event.” While exploring, don’t forget to vote in the People’s Choice Award for the best overall barbecue you sampled.

Visiting the BBQ Festival in Lacey is Great, but You Should Sign Up to Participate Too!

Forget combat that requires blood, sweat and tears. Ever thought about testing your mettle in a competition of smoke, sauce and brine? Sign up to participate in a variety of contests but don’t delay, space is filling up fast.

For sellers, booth and vendor space are still available for shops wanting to showcase their spices, rubs, cooking gadgets and other merchandise. Simply fill out the online vendor application to secure your spot. Food vendors are also welcome and there will be plenty of hungry bellies waiting to dive right in and become new regular customers.

The America’s Credit Union chicken wing eating contest is also looking for participants, so bring plenty of wet wipes for those sticky, spicy, saucy hands afterward. Other BBQ Festival and sponsors include Amazon95.3 KGY FMFastSignsLucky Eagle Casino & Hotel, the North Thurston Education FoundationPromo NorthwestMelanie Bakala—State FarmChicago TitleFuneral Alternatives of WashingtonTin Hut BBQTwinStar Credit Union and Heritage Bank.

a soft pig toy sits on a South Sound BBQ Festival tishirt andhas a South Sound BBQ Festival hat on
The 2024 South Sound BBQ Festival takes place at Lacey’s Huntamer Park on Saturday, July 13, 2024, from 11 a.m. until the glorious evening hours. Photo courtesy: Lacey South Sound Chamber

Clear Your Calendar to Enjoy Food, Family, Friends and Fun

The South Sound BBQ Festival takes place at Lacey’s centrally located Huntamer Park. The park can be found at 618 Woodland Square Loop SE, behind Fred Meyer. Consider taking Intercity Transit to the Lacey Transit Center and walking the short distance to save any parking chaos.

The best place to find Festival updates is through the Lacey South Sound Chamber social media pages. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram to learn more and catch new additions as they’re posted.

While online, check out the Chamber’s other sponsored activities. Their calendar of events is jam-packed with community fun like the Golf ClassicWinter Fest—Sip, Savor, ShopRead Around Lacey and annual Business Awards. They also host a business directory and clearinghouse of local resources for those new to the area or looking for something different to try. Business and franchise owners, consider joining the Chamber for opportunities to network, learn, grow and mingle with others who showcase Thurston County’s economic development.

It may seem obvious, but someone took a poll to find out anyway. Seventy-five percent of respondents say they would love to eat barbecue every week of the year…and rightfully so, in my opinion. Meat, veggies and even fruit are all better after a visit to the grill or smoker. But since that’s not possible, or medically advisable, make the most of community-wide celebrations like these. Mix and mingle with family, friends, neighbors and visitors enjoying the best the season, and local grillers, have to offer.

South Sound BBQ Festival
July 13, 2024
Festival 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Beer Garden 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Huntamer Park
618 Woodland Square Loop SE, Lacey


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