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Main Street Waterloo presents the 18th Annual BBQ’Loo and Blues Too! two-day event that takes place on Friday, July 19 from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. and Saturday, July 20 from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Lincoln Park, downtown Waterloo. The blues performances are free! A variety of barbeque and other food and beverage vendors will be available for purchase.

This KCBS (Kansas City Barbeque Society)-sanctioned Barbecue contest features nearly 40 contestants competing in the categories of pork, brisket, chicken and ribs, with awards given Saturday at 3:45 p.m.

On Friday, July 19, the 2018 Iowa Blues Challenge Winners, Scotty and the Wingtips take the stage. This band was formed in 1989 to host a jam session and has been together ever since playing challenges and festivals around the state. “Ain’t got a thing if you ain’t got that swing.”

Also on Friday, the annual steak cook-off competition starts at 5 p.m., followed by the annual Kid’s Q starting at 5:30 p.m. The Kid’s Q features children ages 6 thru 15 showing their culinary skills in chicken and ground beef categories.

The free Kids Korner will be open Friday 5:30 to 9 p.m., and Saturday noon to 4 p.m. with free children’s activities. On Saturday, the celebrity rib eating contest starts at 5:30 p.m.

Three blues bands will perform on Saturday, July 20. Taking the stage at 11 a.m. is blues legend Rob Lumbard with Tina Haase Findlay. Rob and Tina won the 2018 Iowa Blues Challenge in the solo/duo category and represented Iowa at the 2019 International Blues Challenge. This duo is folk blues based and can cover jazz or blues standards, or do a set of original tunes.

At 2 p.m. Saturday, it’s the Avey Grouws Band. This band hits hard with a soul for Blues, Rock and Roots/Americana. They are the winners of the 2017 Iowa Blues Challenge and.represented Iowa in the semifinals at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis.

Headlining the BBQ’Loo and Blues Too on Saturday evening at 6:30 p.m. is Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials. From Chicago, a city overflowing with unrivaled blues talent, world-renowned Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials have been standing tall for over 30 years. The band’s big sound, fueled by Lil’ Ed’s gloriously rollicking slide work and deep blues string bending, along with his rough-edged, soulful vocals, is as real and hard-hitting as Chicago blues gets. Lil’ Ed fans are known as “Ed Heads”.

Register to win one of four, 50-pound pork bundles. The drawing will be Saturday at 7:30 p.m. You do not need to be present to win.

For more information, please call the Main Street Waterloo office at (319) 291-2038 or visit

Main Street Waterloo is a non-profit organization, dedicated to maintaining and enhancing the vitality of our downtown center.