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Wednesday, Apr 25, 2018
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Beer, bourbon and barbecue festival coming to Tampa

Thousands of people are expected to taste dozens of beers and liquors when the Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival , a popular draw along the East Coast, arrives in Tampa on Feb. 22.

The event, making its first visit to Tampa, will be from noon to 6 p.m. at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. The show is produced by Trigger Agency, a Baltimore-based beer and wine event company, which began the Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festivals about seven years ago.

Greg Nivens, festival founder, said he started looking to bring the event to the Tampa Bay area three years ago and had looked at several options.

“Then we found the park and the City of Tampa was so nice and welcomed us,” Nivens said. “The location is just gorgeous.”

He said the company plans to make it an annual event, such as it is in New York City, Atlanta, Richmond, Va., and other cities.

“We don't go anywhere that we don't plan to put our feet down for a while,” Nivens said.

The event includes 40 craft brews and 60 liquors, including high-end name brands, he said. Admission includes a tasting glass and taste-all-you-want. Vendors will have barbecue dishes available for purchase.

“We know what the volume is going to be and we bring the best,” he said.

The VIP tent also includes a number of barbecue specialists featuring different kinds of bacons and whole hogs cooked and the pork pulled. VIP guests can attend starting at noon with general admission opening at 2 p.m., when sampling of those dishes is included.

Some local participants include Whaley's Blazin' BBQ, Love's Artifacts and Big John's Alabama Barbecue.

The event also holds seminars in the tasting theater with distillers, brew masters and pit masters. Contests include a Best Beer Belly Competition and Daisy Dukes and Boots contest. There are also exhibits and a cigar tent.

A portion of the proceeds benefits Spirit of Hope, a Virginia-based nonprofit providing support and promoting education for children and adults afflicted with a mental or physical disability.

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