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Everyone gets cake, and try the BBQ. It’s a 131st birthday for Kissimmee Saturday at the Kowtown Festival

Posted on Friday, March 28, 2014 at 10:56 am







By Peter Covino
A&E Editor
The Kissimmee Kowtown Festival was already one of the biggest downtown events. This weekend’s annual city birthday celebration just might be the biggest one ever.
Today’s event now includes the inaugural Kissimmee Valley Rib Rodeo, a barbecue competition sanctioned by the Florida BBQ Association.
Last year’s Kowtown Festival also included a barbecue event, said Brianne Stefek, Kissimmee Main Street, executive director, but now that it is sanctioned by the state association, it will be at least four times larger.
“We had eight teams competing last year,” she said. “We will have 37 teams Saturday.” The event has competitors coming in from all over the state.
Teams will compete in four meat categories: chicken, ribs, pork and brisket.
And more competitors should also mean more people getting in on all that barbecue. Barbecue will be available for purchase throughout the event.
Also available this year are VIP tickets for the Kowtown Festival. VIP tickets will admit attendees to two VIP areas. The purchase of a VIP ticket includes a free event glass, snacks from local restaurants, one free beer ($1 beers all day), a shaded pavilion area and more.  To register online for a ticket ($20) go to VIP tickets (if still available) will also be sold at the event.
This is the first year the festival will be held at the recently redesigned Kissimmee Lakefront Park. The event had been held at nearby Toho Square the past few years.
The celebration marks the 131st birthday of the city of Kissimmee, and as usual, the occasion will be marked with a birthday cake.
Another popular event at the Kowtown Festival is the hot dog eating contest, sponsored by downtown restaurant, Willy’s Weiners. Contestants have two minutes to see who can eat the most hot dogs. Last year, about ten contestants were in the competition.
Hot dog enthusiasts can still get in on the fun of seeing how many hot dogs they can eat. At press time Thursday, there were still a few seats left for the contest. Admission is free and you get to eat all the hots dogs you want, though you probably won’t be wanting any for awhile after the contest.
You can sign up at the event if they still have open spaces. Contact Willy’s Wieners or the information tent at the festival by 11 a.m. on Saturday.
Other Kowtown Festival events include the craft show and the Kid’s Zone.
The lakefront stage also will feature live entertainment throughout the day.
In addition to barbecue, other food vendors will be selling food items and beverages.
The Kowtown Festival begins at 11 a.m.