Bikes & BBQ will flood Alton Amphitheater for free festival on July 21

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Get out of the city to enjoy some of the region’s best barbecue while checking out hundreds of motorcycles at the second annual Bikes & BBQ Festival at the Liberty Bank Alton Amphitheater from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 21.

Barbecue vendors include local staples like Capitalist Pig, Doc’s Smokehouse and StLouisianaQ food truck, as well as traveling competition team Big Daddy’s Q’n Crew.

Menu items include pulled pork, brisket, ribs and other “good, old-fashioned Midwest barbecue,” according to Stephanie Tate, marketing communications director for Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau.

After you get your fill of meats, head to the Fire & Ice Cream Truck for dessert and enjoy nonalcoholic beverages and beer for purchase from the amphitheater.

“What goes better with barbecue than a really cold beer?” Tate said.

Featuring a “whole gamut” of different kinds of bikes, from vintage to upscale, the event lets motorcyclists show off their rides and enter a contest for the new Bikes & BBQ People’s Choice Award. A panel of motorcycle enthusiasts narrow down the field of contestants to 10 finalists. Festival patrons then cast votes for their favorite bike until 2 p.m.  The first-place winner receives $250, the first runner-up receives $150 and the second runner-up receives $100.

The Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway is one of the main draws of the region, particularly for sightseeing motorists.

“Motorcyclists absolutely love driving up between Alton and Grafton, so the festival is a great place to stop by and see what others have done with their bikes,” Tate said. “They like to see what they’ve souped up, what kind of rudders they’ve put on.”

Alton also has an up-and-coming foodie scene. “Our restaurant scene has exploded as people discover food tourism,” Tate said. “There’s good barbecue on both sides of the river.”

Local rock band SuperJam will provide the “upbeat and lively” soundtrack for the day. General admission is free, but $25 VIP tickets – available online – include two drink tickets and nearby parking.

Lauren Healey is associate editor at Sauce Magazine. Editorial intern Quinn Wilson contributed to this article.

Sauce Magazine is a sponsor of Bikes & BBQ Festival.