What started as a two-day celebration of lettuce in Yuma, Arizona, has turned into a Heritage Festivals BBQ & Brew Festival in Historic Downtown Main Street. Every year since 1998, townsfolk and visitors would gather in the name of local produce that has been significant to the area’s economic growth. Now, that event has been transformed into something bigger and better than ever before.
Over the two days, normally at the end of February or start of March, there is a lot to see, do, and experience. The daytime, family-friendly festival begins on Friday morning in Downtown Main Street in Yuma and ends on Saturday. On both nights, there is also a concert with classic country and bluegrass music for visitors to dance the night away.
During the day, temperatures heat up for BBQ cooking competitions with prizes to be won. There are also BBQ tasting events, yard games, mechanical bull rides, a Kids' corner, face painting, rock wall climbing, train rides, and more.
Many local businesses get on board to make the BBQ & Brew Festival a success, and it’s certainly a highlight for Arizona visitors as well. Could it be time to choose your winter RV holiday destination? Choosing the sunniest city in the world is a no-brainer.
In the past, entry to the BBQ & Brew Festival event site has been free for all ages. However, make sure you bring cash so you can shop to your heart's content at all the vendor stalls in the area. Competitors may need to sign up by a certain time each year to ensure that they get to participate. You can also check out City of Yuma’s website for event schedules.
Given the desert location of Yuma, you can expect the roads to be wide, flat, and reasonably easy to navigate. However, sandstorms can occur at any time, so make sure you travel with your lights on and remain visible. It’s also imperative to drive with plenty of drinking water on board and possibly some for your vehicle.
Yuma is accessible via I-8 and US-95. Once you reach the township, Historic Downtown Main Street runs parallel one block over from I-8. Resources and rest stops may have some distance between them on area roadways, so stock up and refuel when you can. Take note that some routes may lead you near or across country lines into Mexico.
There is public parking available for most cars traveling to the BBQ & Brew Festival along the city streets, but there are no dedicated RV spots. You may see the value in arriving early, finding a large enough parking spot on the city streets, then walking on foot or with the help of public transportation to get to the heart of the action.
If you would prefer to leave your RV at your campsite and access the event site another way, there are a couple of options. You can phone for a taxi or private ride service to bring you to and from the BBQ & Brew Festival. Local bus routes may also coincide with festival times.
Because the BBQ & Brew Festival is a weekend-long event in the city streets, there is no RV camping available. Fortunately, Yuma expects plenty of visitors to the area for the festival, and so delivers with RV parks, resorts, campgrounds, and more. If you like to be the early bird that gets the worm, book in advance to improve your chances of getting your first pick.
Yuma has an abundance of accommodation options for campers, RV travelers, and anyone passing through Southern Arizona. There are at least half a dozen, if not more, RV resorts within a ten-mile distance of the city center. Rules and regulations for each establishment can differ, but it’s helpful to know you won’t have to travel for dozens of miles to enjoy festival fun.
Prepare to do lots of walking at the BBQ & Brew Festival, for Shank’s Pony is your best form of transport. Once you arrive at the festival, either with your RV or via public transportation, you will need to navigate the area on foot. Fortunately, much of what you find to enjoy is close to each other. There are also plenty of areas to rest your weary feet.
It may be winter, but Yuma often doesn’t get the memo. Traditionally, temperatures during the day are between 60 to 85 degrees. There’s a reason it’s the sunniest city, after all. You can leave the snow boots at home, but don’t forget to bring light, breathable layers, a few sweaters, and trousers. Comfortable footwear and a few extra blankets at nightfall wouldn’t hurt either.
It’s better to be safe than sorry, so for your trip to the remote area of Yuma, bring everything you need to live comfortably over the weekend in the area. Cooking and camping supplies are paramount. You can leave these in your RV during your visit to the festival and just pack a light backpack. In it, include water, cash, and plenty of free space for new purchases.
The southwest can be a dry, arid place, which can wreak havoc on your body if you’re not prepared. Bring plenty of sun protection; including sunglasses, a sun hat, sunscreen, and lip balm to prevent chapped lips. A first aid kit and any medical supplies you might require while you’re away from home are essential as well.
Rules surrounding cooking at RV parks can differ from one establishment to the next. With this in mind, it’s important to ask your host what you’re able to use before you haul out the charcoal. It’s fair to say that most will allow the use of onboard RV kitchen appliances. You can also stock up on cooking supplies in Yuma, with multiple markets and grocery stores within proximity to the festival site.
Central around US-95 and I-8 in Yuma, travelers will find an abundance of restaurants and eateries. From sushi and raw food through to grills, buffets, and fast food options; this expansive city has everything you need. The best part is, much of it is within ten miles of the festival site and nearby accommodation providers. Follow the main roads, and you’ll be in luck.
Vendors line Historic Downtown Main Street to offer a range of cuisines that are special to Yuma and surrounding areas. Bring cash so that you don’t miss out on your favorites at this mouth-watering outdoor event. There will be no shortage of BBQ treats to tantalize your taste buds at this community event in Arizona.
There may be a security presence at BBQ & Brew Festival, especially during the evening concerts. If screening takes place, you can speed up the security process by packing light and having your bag ready for officers to check. The Yuma Police Department is also within a short walking or driving distance for peace of mind.
With day temperatures between 60 and 85, you’re unlikely to be shivering with cold during your visit to Arizona. However, early mornings and late nights can feel a little fresh on bare skin. It wouldn’t hurt to pack a few extra blankets and have the heaters on standby, ready to do their job in the winter months.
If you find yourself in need of medical supplies or attention, then the City of Yuma delivers. There is a medical center within a short drive of the festival site and several pharmacies within the same distance. It won’t be long until you’re patched up and firing on all cylinders once more.