BBQ, beer, brunch and burgers: The Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival – Cowtown’s best culinary party – kicks off next week. Here’s why you should be there


My favorite Fort Worth food and wine festival is just days away, which means you’d better secure your tickets now for the fourth annual Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival, March 30-April 1.

Fort Worth and Dallas chefs will host five delicious– and unpretentious — events that range from BBQ to desserts to burgers to breakfasts. The three-day event kicks off with the BBQ Showdown at Will Rogers Memorial Center, (6-9 p.m. March 30, $60 or $75 for VIP early entry), where Angelo’s Bar-B-Que and Heim BBQ plus pitmasters Barrett Black (Black’s BBQ in Lockhart), John Sanford (Cresson’s BBQ on the Brazos) will be carving and serving hefty samples.

Then on March 31, The Main Event (6-9 p.m., $125 or $150 for VIP) offers pours of more than 100 wines, craft beers and spirits, plus food from John Tesar, Marcus Paslay (Clay Pigeon Food and Drink and Piattello Italian Kitchen), and Robert Lyford (Patina Green Home and Market in McKinney).

Still hungry and thirsty? The party then moves toThe Shack at Panther Island for Desserts After Dark (9-11:30 p.m. March 31, $55 or $65 for VIP) for more drinks and sweets from Gypsy Scoops, Stir Crazy Baked Goods, Dough Boy Donuts and others. 

Of course, you can’t sleep in on Sunday. Nope, you’re headed to brunch at the Pier 1 Imports Building for Rise + Dine (11 a.m.-1 p.m. April 1, $65 or $75 for VIP) for Champagne, bloody marys, mimosas and breakfasty things from Café Modern, Press Cafe, Buttons, Revolver Taco Lounge, Esperanza’s and Paco’s Mexican Cuisine.

Go home, sleep it off, then set your alarm for my favorite annual burger event, Burgers, Brews + Blues at the Heart of the Ranch at Clearfork (6-9 p.m. April 1, $70 or $85 for VIP). Unlimited burgers from a half-dozen DFW burger joints — including Fred’s Texas Cafe, Rodeo Goat and Swiss Pastry Shop — means you go home full and the best restaurants go home with prizes. They sweat; you cool off with 22 craft breweries and live music under a big oak tree.

You can buy tickets a la carte or all-in; all-access VIP passes ($400) offer early entry to all five events and include a celebratory tasting tray and wineglass. The event benefits the nonprofit Fort Worth Food + Wine Foundation, which provides local grant programs and culinary scholarships.