Barbecue and Blues are a great combination so start planning for the 9th Annual Bob Sykes BBQ & Blues Festival presented by the City of Bessemer and Metro PCS are set for Saturday, April 28, 2018. The event will combine the best of blues music and legendary Bob Sykes BBBQ at the beautiful DeBardeleben Park located in historic downtown Bessemer, Alabama from 12-8pm.
Gates open at 11am. You can expect to hear talented award winning local and national blues musicians. Be sure to bring a chair or blanket and set-up your spot for the day.
Since 2010, the event has been filled with thousands of festival goers. Attendees of the festival range from youth to adults.
2nd generation owner and pit master of Bob Sykes Bar B Q Van Sykes says “Each year the festival grows and we couldn’t do it without our sponsors and the support of the community.” City of Bessemer Mayor Kenneth Gulley says “The Bob Sykes BBQ and Blues Festival has been a great event for the city of Bessemer. It brings visitors to our city from across the state, southeast and even internationally. We’re proud that this festival will continue to be held in Bessemer and we’re looking forward to many more great years of barbecue and blues music in downtown Bessemer.”
The festival has been chosen for numerous years as one of the top food festivals in Alabama. There is something to do for the entire family including a large kids corner with activities and games. Children twelve and under are free with a ticketed adult. Besides great music and BBQ the festival offers a variety of booths including arts and crafts, outdoor exhibits, and a diverse selection of vendors selling tempting offers.
General admission tickets can be purchased at www.bobsykesblues.com or visit Bob Sykes Bar B Q Restaurant. Since 2010, the festival has provided funding for local charities and this year Bob Sykes has chosen Latch and Live Foundation as the charity. The foundation rebuilds lives and provides help to impoverished families of Bessemer and surrounding cities.
1623 2nd Avenue North
Bessemer, AL 35020
1724 9TH AVENUE N
BESSEMER, AL 35020
Originally from Cumberland City, Tennessee, Bob Sykes grew up in the country, experiencing hog killings and learning to smoke hams. As a young man during the Depression, Bob set out for Birmingham, seeking opportunity in the big city. He worked a series of different jobs. He married. And in 1956 he and his wife Maxine decided that they’d like to work together. They sold their house and their car to buy a small neighborhood café called The Ice Spot. Their gamble paid off. Bob found he had a knack for cooking, and Maxine was a great manager. Their son, Van, was a toddler at the time, getting on-the-job-training. Before long, hamburgers gave way to barbecue and a tradition was born. Five decades later, Van carries on his late father’s legacy. Through different locations, franchises, and changing tastes, Bob Sykes BarB-Q has stood the test of time. As Van is quick to say, “Where other restaurants have branches, we have roots.” And their’s are roots that run deep in Birmingham’s barbecue tradition.Maxine Sykes passed away on January 17, 2015 at the age of 93.
[Van’s] daddy [Bob] had a stroke and that, you know—he couldn’t walk, he couldn’t talk, he couldn’t even sit up for months and months and—but I kept—I was determined to keep the business going because I knew I wanted to keep his name going. And so I worked hard to take care of him, take care of Van, and keep the business going.~ Maxine Sykes
Not many people appreciate the dynamic of just salt, meat, fire—that’s it. I would love to have some convoluted thing that I could tell you I’m doing out there. I’m not. I mean it’s just—it’s a time-honored thing. But you know what? It’s almost too simple. By gosh, I wish it was just, you know, rub this for two hours and turn this over but it’s just real simple and that’s the genius, you know.~ Van Sykes