OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) The aroma of pulled pork and burgoo are filling the air above downtown Owensboro. That’s because the annual Bar-B-Q Block Party is underway on Second Street.

People have been downtown since the block party started at noon, and more people are expected down here after they get home from work. This year’s edition is the second for the current format since the pandemic.

“First weekend in Kentucky in May is Derby weekend, second weekend is Bar-B-Q in Owensboro,” said Tim Ross, Owensboro Director of Public Events.

As the lunch hour started, so did the walk to second street for the block party.(Morgan russelburg) “It’s super easy for me to walk down here on my lunch break on Friday and have some bar-b-q for lunch,” said Morgan Russelburg of Owensboro, who works at Brescia University.

“I’m looking at a little bit of everything. Going to get me a good plate,” added Sherman Cowherd of Owensboro.

This format replaced the old Bar-B-Q Festival format last year because of the pandemic, as organizers tried to bring people to outdoor events safely. Ross says he anticipates crowds to be closer to what they were before the pandemic.

“There’s a lot of things happening, just in conjunction with bar-b-q weekend,” he said.

Among those coinciding with the block party is the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce’s Red, White and Blue on Saturday morning, where local candidates make their final pitches to voters. This is the first of two happening this year.

“We have so many primaries that are contested this year, and several elections that will be decided on may 17th, so the chamber felt like it was really important for us to allow the community and our membership with the candidates as much as possible,” said Candance Brake of the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce.

Ross says more than a dozen vendors were added to the bar-b-q event, but some attendees say it doesn’t feel as big compared to pre-pandemic editions. Others like Bruce Tucker of the Precious Blood Cooking Team says the format changes make it more manageable for the church cooking teams.

“It’s hard to get our younger group energized, so we’re getting older. For us to go full score, like we’ve done, it’s a burden for us. Every one of us is retired and in our 60s and 70s,” he explained.

Ross also says they changed the format last year to bring the attention back to the bar-b-q.

The block party runs tonight until 9:00 PM, and starts again tomorrow morning at 10:00 AM.

(This story was originally published on May 13, 2022)