CONTACT: Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association
PHONE: 256.350.3500 / 800.648.5381

Huntsville’s Battle of the Barbeque Takes over John Hunt Park September 9-10

Decatur, Ala. – Over 100 barbeque experts and connoisseurs are expected next month for the return of WhistleStop, Huntsville’s two-day battle of the barbeque. Set for September 9-10, 2022, the event invites professional and amateur grill masters to show off their barbeque expertise as festival goers experience the excitement of a cook-off while live music and the smell of barbeque fills the air. This year the annual fundraising event for the EarlyWorks Children’s Museum is embracing a football tailgating theme, Tailgate Throw-down. 
WhistleStop 2022 offers a menu of music, barbeque and fun in a tailgate atmosphere and this year’s event will take place again at John Hunt Park in Huntsville. The barbeque competition features a professional division sanctioned by Kansas City Barbeque Society; the Shadetree (amateur) division, judged by certified judges; and a WhistleStop Wing Thing where the public decides the winner. Amateurs will serve up chicken and ribs, while the professionals will showcase their best chicken, pork, ribs and beef brisket to see who will be proclaimed the winner. Kansas City BBQ Society Awards will be presented at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday with Shadetree BBQ awards following at 8:30 p.m. Many of the backyard cooking teams competing in the Shadetree competition will have samples available for tasting and everyone attending WhistleStop on Saturday between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. will have a chance to vote for their favorite where $1 equals one vote. To vote for the People’s Choice Awards, place coins or cash in the jar provided at the cook-site. The team with the most money will be announced as the People's Choice Award winner during the awards presentations at 8:15 p.m. on the main stage. Participating teams will have a sign at their cook site.
In addition to the barbeque competition, this year the festival will offer a new non-competition tailgate spot for groups that just want to come out and enjoy the atmosphere. Set up like a huge outdoor sports bar, the Tailgate Throwdown Zone will have three super-sized LED screens showing football games throughout the day and night. There will also be live music beginning at 5 p.m. both nights, classic cars on display (Saturday beginning at 10 a.m.), food trucks for those who prefer other food options and the Family Fun Zone, featuring an inflatable bounce house and the EarlyWorks STEM Tinker Tent filled with an array of hands-on activities that are sure to entertain and educate. Tail gate games will also be available for those that want to test out their backyard game skills. This area is included in the festival admission.   
For the first-time in festival history, visitors can upgrade their general admission ticket and have access to the new WhistleStop Tasting Tent. The Tasting Tent upgrade includes exclusive access to the Tasting Tent area, along with special samplings of craft spirits, local beers and select wines. Throughout the course of the festival, Tasting Tent patrons will also be treated to an alternating delectable sampling of smoke-inspired small-bites. The Tasting Tent will be open on Friday from 8 to 10:30 p.m. and on Saturday from 11a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Only a limited number of upgrades are available. Cost is $10/person on Friday and $20/person on Saturday.
Another public tasting will be available on Friday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. with the Wing Thing competition where festivalgoers will choose the winner of the best chicken wings. Tickets are $10 and include 10 wings and a soft drink.
All activities take place at John Hunt Park located at 2151 Airport Road Southwest in Huntsville. Festival hours are Friday 4 to 11 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Admission per person is $10 per day. Tickets may be purchased in advance at beginning Aug. 12. Parking is provided on the north side of the festival grounds and is $5 per car or $25 for an RV. Serving as the principle fundraising event for the EarlyWorks Family of Museums, the Festival’s proceeds support the expansion of the Museum’s STEM education initiative. For more information, visit or call 256.564.8100. 


About Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association (AMLA)
AMLA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion and development of the travel industry within the 16 northernmost counties of the state.  It is supported by 500-plus members consisting of chambers of commerce, Convention & Visitors Bureaus, attractions, campgrounds, festivals, communities, counties, golf courses, restaurants, tour operators, accommodations, vendors, financial institutions and individuals.  Counties included within the AMLA region are Blount, Cherokee, Colbert, Cullman, DeKalb, Etowah, Franklin, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan and Winston. Additional information on North Alabama destinations, accommodations and special events is available by calling 800.648.5381 or by visiting