Big Blue River Days: Savor the Sounds, Flavors and Rides

By Ryan Duey

Downtown Marysville is set to host the annual Big Blue River Days on May 31 and June 1, promising a weekend filled with excitement, competition, and family fun.

The 17th annual Big Blue BBQ, sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, will be a major draw, attracting top barbecue teams from across the country. There will be plenty of competition with 23 teams already confirmed and space for up to 30.

The barbecue festivities kick off Friday night – rich aromas will fill the air as teams begin their cooking. The competition covers four categories: pork, brisket, chicken and ribs.

Another major component of the weekend is the 33rd annual AutoFest. Registration for the car show is on Saturday from 8 a.m. until 12 p.m., and the car show is from 12 p.m. until 2 p.m.

The weekend is filled with free live music, starting Friday at 6 p.m. with a high-energy performance by Live Circuit. The excitement continues at 9 p.m. with the dynamic Mikey Needleman Band, known for their captivating tunes and engaging stage presence.

On Saturday, the musical festivities begin at 6 p.m. with the soulful sounds of Sam Stueve, followed by the electrifying Stolen Winnebagos at 9 p.m.

One of the highlights of the weekend will be the Taste of BBQ event, where people can purchase People’s Choice tickets for $25. This ticket grants access to an array of barbecue dishes prepared by some of the best teams in the country. The event starts Saturday at 2 p.m., and with only 250 tickets available, it’s important to arrive early to secure a spot.

Participants will be able to taste a variety of barbecue creations and vote for their top three favorites.

To secure a ticket, contact the Marysville Chamber and Main Street office, 617 Broadway, or call 785-562-3101.

Pickleball events are a new addition to this year’s festivities. A Pickleball Learning Clinic will be Friday at 6 p.m. at the Kramer Family Tennis Complex. This is perfect for beginners and enthusiasts looking to improve their skills. Some equipment will be provided; people are encouraged to bring their own paddle.

Saturday’s events begin at 9 a.m. with a pickleball tournament featuring women’s and mixed doubles teams, with a registration fee of $20 per team. Prizes will be awarded to teams coming in 1st and 2nd.

Information about the pickleball events may be directed to 785-799-4130. To register for the tournament, call 785-562-3101.

For those seeking more unique entertainment, the turtle races will provide plenty of excitement. People may cheer on their favorite turtle Friday at 6:30 p.m. as they compete in heats, adding a fun and lively atmosphere to the event.

Cornhole enthusiasts can participate in the Blind Draw Cornhole tournament Friday at 7:30 p.m., where players are paired with partners drawn at random. This format ensures that everyone has a chance to join in the fun, regardless of whether they arrive with a team.

Additionally, the Team Cornhole Tournament, organized by Marshall County Cornhole, will start Saturday at 2 p.m., providing ample opportunity for friendly competition.

For families, the Kids Zone on Saturday will feature inflatables, a balloon artist, and face painting.

On Saturday from 10 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., the Marysville Public Library, 1009 Broadway, will host a craft session. The first thirty-nine children who attend will get a free bike bell.

As always, the Beer Bin will be a central hub of refreshment, offering a selection of beer, water, soda, and seltzer, along with merchandise. This year, attendees can enjoy a special deal on six-pack coolers of beer, perfect for carrying around and staying refreshed throughout the festivities.

Unless otherwise specified, all of the activities are held in downtown Marysville on Broadway Street between the 600 and 900 blocks.

“The Big Blue River Days is a favorite event for both the community and the barbecue teams,” said Allie Argo, events coordinator for Marysville Chamber and Main Street, the sponsoring organization. “Year after year, it brings people to Marysville, making it a favorite weekend for many. We are looking forward to another unforgettable celebration.”

Big Blue River Days is a fundraiser for Marysville Chamber and Main Street.

For more information, people may go to or call 785-562-8374.

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