Tournament, round one: Bands, Brew & BBQ vs. Universal Orlando's Mardi Gras

March 17, 2011, 8:55 AM · It's time for the next contest in the 2011 Theme Park Insider Tournament: America's Best Theme Park Event. This time, we've got two late-winter popular music events in Central Florida squaring off for the right to advance.

Bands, Brew & BBQ tweaked its name when Anheuser-Busch sold its theme parks to Blackstone Group, eliminating the Bud branding from the event. Now it's just "brew" but the focus continues to be on BBQ and big-name musical acts, on Saturdays at SeaWorld in Orlando and on Sundays in Tampa at Busch Gardens. This year's performers included Willie Nelson, Huey Lewis, Montgomery Gentry and Joan Jett. In addition to the parks' own barbecue, this year's events also featured 'cue from outside restaurants, including Smokey Bones and Texas Cattle Company.

What? No Sonny's? C'mon, throw me a... (No, I just can't go with a joke that bad.)

While Bands, Brew & BBQ features country and rock bands, Universal Studios' Florida's Mardi Gras programs a more eclectic mix of acts, this year including Neon Trees, the Roots and Ne-Yo, as well as standbys such as The B-52s & Frankie Valli. While there's some themed food here, too, the real focus is on the park's Mardi Gras parade, complete with selected visitors throwing beads from the floats. Despite the name, Universal's Mardi Gras runs well into Lent, wrapping up in April most years.

Both events are included with theme park admission. Which one is your favorite?

As always, your tales of your personal experience at these events are welcomed in the comments. So is your blatant campaigning for your favorite, on whatever appropriate social network. You've got 24 hours to vote. Polls close at noon Eastern (9 am Pacific) Friday.

Replies (1)

March 18, 2011 at 6:21 AM · Don't forget about Outback and also the beer fest they had at Busch this year that was amazing!

This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Park tickets

Weekly newsletter

New attraction reviews

News archive