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Huge crowds expected for weekend Barbacoa & Big Red Festival

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Josh Macias
Barbacoa & Big Red Festival
Families are welcome at the festival

Around 40,000 people are expected to attend the Barbacoa and Big Red Festival in south Bexar County during its two-day run this weekend, according to festival founder Robert Morris.

Morris said he wanted to create an event to celebrate a local favorite. No one really knows how Big Red and Barbacoa were first paired. Was it a hangover cure or just happy accident?

"We really don't know how it really started, the background on that. But we took that and tried to make it a festival to bring the community together over the common staple here in San Antonio. And also, just have more entertainment — bring it to life and celebrate our heritage here," he explained.

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Josh Macias
Some festival goers where lots of swag

So, for San Antonio's many newly transplanted residents from all over the country — what is barbacoa?

"Barbacoa is pretty much like a cow's head. So, they cook it like normally in the pits, but traditional restaurants don't do that — it's not up to code. So, they cook it in vats. It takes a while. It's a process," he said.

The cooked meat from the head is filled into flour or corn tortillas to be served.

Up to 400 pounds of barbacoa were expected to be prepared for the event. Some will be shipped in from local restaurants, and some will be served from food trucks. The grounds are covered in picnic tables, many under cover from the sun.

There will be several vendors from across the city at the event, which is held at the RJ Music Pavilion on 18086 Pleasanton Road, south of Loop 410. There is also a small mercado and a few carnival style attractions at the event, which is making its first comeback from the pandemic.

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Barbacoa & Big Red Festival
Country singer Aaron Watson

There will also be continuous live music both days, including Sunday night's headliner: country singer Aaron Watson, who is best known for his 2017 top ten hit "Outta Style." He takes the H-E-B stage at 9:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Morris said there will be plenty of parking on the grounds and on neighboring properties. Security will be tight, with visitors checked for weapons. The grounds will also be patrolled by sheriff's deputies and by undercover security.

Tickets range from $10 to $30 and can be purchased online at www.barbacoabigredfestival.com.

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Brian Kirkpatrick can be reached at brian@tpr.org and on Twitter at @TPRBrian