Know before you go
HOW DO I PURCHASE TICKETS?
Tickets for the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest can be purchased here.
CAN I PURCHASE TICKETS AT THE GATE?
Yes, general admission tickets may be purchased at the gate at Tom Lee Park.
WHAT HAPPENS IF IT RAINS?
The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest will be presented rain or shine.
ARE REFUNDS, RAIN CHECKS OR EXCHANGES AVAILABLE?
Unfortunately, we cannot offer refunds, rain checks or exchanges.
WHERE IS THE BEST PLACE TO GET UP-TO-DATE, ACCURATE WEATHER INFORMATION?
Visit Memphisweather.net for weather updates, radar coverage, graphics, statistics and more! Memphisweather.net is the official weather partner of the Memphis in May International Festival.
What Can I Bring?
- Government issued photo identification
- Small bags, backpacks, fanny packs and purses (18” x 18” x 18” maximum, any bag larger than 12” x 12” x 12” MUST BE A CLEAR BAG)
- One factory-sealed water bottle of 20 oz or less
- Camelback hydration packs (1.75Litres or less)
- Sunglasses & Hats
- Sunscreen lotion – non-aerosol containers only (we'll have sunscreen stations around the park too)
- Cell phones
- Non-professional flash/still cameras
What Can't I Bring?
- Illegal substances
- Firearms, explosives and weapons of any kind (including pocket knives, pepper spray, mace, fireworks, etc.)
- Aerosol containers (including sunscreen & personal beauty products)
- Selfie sticks
- Outside food or drink
- Cameras with detachable lenses
- Professional radios / walkie-talkies
- Cans, containers, glass bottles and coolers
- Laser pointers (or similar devices)
- Yard games, glow sticks, marker pens and inflatables
- Chains / Chain wallets / spiky jewelry
- Oversized umbrellas
- Tents, canopies or shade structures of any kind
- Totems, flags, banners or signs
- Water Guns
- Thrown objects (baseballs, footballs, frisbees, etc.)
- Recording Equipment
- Oversized purses, bags, backpacks, etc. (larger than 18” x 18” x 18”)
- Pets (with the exception of service animals)
- Bikes, rollerblades, hoverboards, skates, skate boards, scooters, etc.
- Musical instruments
- Bad attitudes
*These items are subject to change. Please recheck this section before attending the event to have the most up-to-date listing.*
**Drone operators flying in Tom Lee Park during Memphis in May events will be arrested and prosecuted by the City of Memphis**
General WCBCC Information
WHERE IS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BARBECUE COOKING COMPETITION?
World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest is held at Tom Lee Park, a 30-acre sprawling park on the banks of the Mississippi river in Downtown Memphis, Tennessee. Tom Lee Park is approachable by car from I-55 and I-240.
I CAN PURCHASE BBQ FROM TEAMS, RIGHT?
This is a competition. Local health regulations prohibit teams from serving barbecue to the general public. There are barbecue vendors, as well as other food vendors that sell food to the public. Other food and beverages can be purchased through different on-site vendors.
SO IS THERE ANY WAY TO EAT THE BBQ THEN?
The general public has access to taste AND judge barbecue from the teams competing by purchasing a ticket for the Kingsford Tour of Champions. This unique barbecue experience gives you the chance to judge and sample barbecue and listen to teams explain their craft. Typically we also have several championship teams vending.
In addition, BBQ Alley is a new consumer experience that will allow patrons to taste barbecue from several area restaurants! Check out all the details here.
ARE THERE ANY MORE BBQ EXPERIENCES?
The Cooker Caravan is a free tour and gives the general public an intimate view of the barbecue contest and competing teams. The Cooker Caravan behind-the-scenes tour includes information on how the world’s best barbecue cooking teams produce prize-winning barbecue, a chance to see a variety of specialty grills and smokers and tips on how to improve backyard grilling. The Cooker Caravan departs every 30 minutes from its tent in the middle of the park (see map for precise location).
WHAT AGES ARE ALLOWED TO ATTEND WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BARBECUE COOKING CONTEST?
All ages are welcome at World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, however there is no age-based discount available. All patrons must pay the same ticket price.
DO I NEED CASH?
Most purchases can be made with cash or credit. ATMs are available at the park for your convenience.
ANY OTHER TIPS TO ENJOY WCBCC?
Be aware that all bags and purses are subject to search. Don't forget to wear comfortable shoes as well, the park is nearly a mile from end to end.
General Park Information
WHERE CAN I PARK?
See a map of parking garages and lots in Downtown Memphis here.
HOW DO I GET TO WCBCC ONCE IN MEMPHIS?
Take Transit: Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) operates bus service throughout the city, as well the Main Street, Madison and Riverfront trolley buses. Use google maps, download the TransLoc Rider app, call MATA at 901.27.MATA or go to www.matatransit.com to plan your route. Learn more about trolley bus service hours and any re-routes during the Memphis in May Festival here.
Lyft: Request your ride to Tom Lee Park and get dropped off at the festival entrance. When leaving, request your ride from the Lyft Lounge located at Wagner and Beale St and wait for your ride in comfort. If you’re new to Lyft, get $5 off 2 rides with promo code: WCBCC18
WHERE IS FIRST AID LOCATED?
First Aid stations are located in the north and center of Tom Lee Park. The stations are serviced by medical personnel through an agreement with EMHC (Emergency Mobile Health Care of Memphis.) Should you need emergency medical treatment, please go to the First Aid Stations or contact a member of security. Personnel are not allowed to dispense medications.
WHERE IS LOST AND FOUND?
Lost & Found is located at the Police Compound in the North section of Tom Lee Park during event hours. During off hours, please call 901-525-8711.
IS WCBCC WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE?
Tom Lee Park is wheelchair accessible. Please be aware that the grounds are for the most part natural terrain, so if it should rain there will be mud in some places.
Memphis in May does not provide personal care, golf cart rides, or push service. We also do not rent wheelchairs. Please come prepared. Viewing areas for patrons with mobility disabilities, plus one companion, are located on stage right at all main stages and the entry ramps are accessible from the sidewalk. The platforms have limited capacity and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. To provide unobstructed lines of sight to the stage, patrons in the wheelchair platform area will be asked to sit during the performance and folding chairs will be available on a first-come, first serve basis. Accessible portalets are available at each of the portalet areas and are marked on the map in the event program.
ARE PETS ALLOWED?
Pets are not allowed. Service animals that are trained to assist an individual with a disability are allowed on the grounds of Tom Lee Park provided the animal does not pose a danger or threat to other service animals or patrons. Owners of service animals are responsible for the animal’s personal care. For entry into the events with a service animal, please bring your certificate and place the service animal in the appropriate vest to identify the animal. Service animals must be under the control of their owners at all times and must be on a leash at all times.
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