by John Egan

Get your taste buds ready for four hours of feasting at the third annual Houston Barbecue Festival, a showcase for more than 20 local barbecue joints.

This year's installment of the festival will be from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., April 26 at NRG Park.

The festival says it aims to convert Houstonians into "true connoisseurs of barbecue by offering samples of great barbecue so they can choose to patronize those barbecue joints committed to only the highest quality of barbecue."

Here are answers to 13 key questions about the Houston Barbecue Festival.

1. How much do tickets cost?

General admission tickets are $50 each, while VIP admission tickets are $100 each. VIP admission includes early entry, a T-shirt and a drink ticket.


2. When should I buy tickets?

Organizers recommend buying them right away. The first and second festivals sold out before the day of the event. No tickets will be sold at the festival.


3. Where can I buy tickets?

This event is now over


4. Is there a charitable component to the festival?

Yes. A portion of the ticket sales and sponsorships will benefit Vita-Living, a nonprofit agency that provides lifelong support programs for adults and children with disabilities like autism and cerebral palsy.


5. What if it rains on the day of the festival?

The event will take place rain or shine. In case of inclement weather, backup plans will be announced.


6. How much barbecue can you eat at the festival?

Unlimited sample portions will be available from each barbecue joint. Each sample weighs about 2 ounces.


7. How many barbecue joints will be represented at the festival?

More than 20. Among them will be Killen's Barbecue in Pearland, which GQ magazine recently rated as one of the top 25 restaurants in the country.


8. Is this a barbecue cook-off?

No. The participating barbecue joints will not be competing for rankings or prizes.

9. How are the participating barbecue joints chosen?

The selections are based on the organizers' visits to more than 90 barbecue spots in the Houston area.


10. Will the barbecue joints run out of food?

It's possible, but organizers say they're working with the participating barbecue joints to ensure that there's enough food to go around.


11. Are children allowed?

Yes. But only children under age 6 will be admitted free.


12. Can you bring your own beer, wine or other beverages?

No. Drinks must be purchased at the festival.


13. Are dogs allowed?

Only service dogs are allowed at the festival.


Learn more about the evolving Houston Convention District at