The second weekend of July is the annual Kingston Steer BBQ & Village Fair. It starts on Friday night with Entertainment and continues on Saturday starting with a Pancake Breakfast at the Kingston Fire Hall. Don't miss the Grand Street Parade at 10 am and then head over for the delicious Steer BBQ that comes off the grill at noon.
This Big Steer Greats You as You Enter Kingston in the Annapolis Valley

History of the Kingston Steer BBQ

The Steer BBQ was started in 1960 and it's roots were best explained by L.B. Foster in the book "Echoes Across the Valley" - A History of Kingston and it's Neighbors, Volume Two - published & distributed by the Kingston Historical Society.

According to Mr. Foster the Kingston Steer BBQ started with an initial comment from the late O.H. Armstrong - "Well now, you understand, somebody has to pay for this steer".

He goes on to explain that after this comment "ten men in the Kingston and District Board of Trade each pledged fifty dollars to guarantee the wholesale cost of the meat, food and "vittles" of that first Kingston Steer Barbecue back on July 9, 1960."

They sent out letters, some to as far away as Dallas, Texas and Calgary, Alberta inquiring if anyone knew how to barbecue a whole steer. It seems that steers had been cooked in pits of live coals before, but not whole steers.

The Kingston & District Board of Trade members decided to form a committee and use their own ideas on to how to do this.

As to how they cooked that first steer I again quote from the above mentioned book. "The first steer was to be hung in a wire mesh sling in an enclosure of concrete blocks containing a fire-brick wall between the propane jets and the barbecuing area. This allowed the fat falling on the bricks to add a succulent flavor to the meat as it cooked, and prevented the direct heat from the propane jets from burning the steer and provided an even heat for the cooking process."

They started cooking the steer at midnight, and after keeping an eye on it all night it was said to be cooked late Saturday morning. Everyone marveled at the very tasty meat and it was decided that this would become an annual event.

Over the years the Kingston Steer BBQ has added many events both on the day of the feast, and the days leading up to it. It became a very festive time as they held dances, parades, pageants, a circus, fairs, horse pulls, sports events and entertainment.

Local women and churches began donating home made brown bread, plus other food was added. Salads, coleslaw and vegetables. Burgers, fries and "burger bits" - (beef on a bun}, were added to the menu and by the 1980's three steers were being barbecued.

It was not long before Kingston had the reputation of having the largest Steer BBQ in Nova Scotia and the people who perfected the art of cooking these steers were travelling all over the world sharing their techniques.

The village erected up a large bull on the outskirts of the village to commemorate the Kingston Steer BBQ. Unfortunately this was badly vandalized, but the Bricklaying class at the Annapolis Campus in Middleton stepped up to recreate a two ton concrete bull which stands at the southwest corner of the village.
Children's Play Area Set Up For A Festival In The Annapolis Valley

Schedule of Events

Today the annual Kingston Steer BBQ & Village Fair is still going strong and 2009 was the 50th anniversary of this event. There was many events planned for this occasion. I have been able to confirm some of the many events planned again and with the aid of former schedules I will give you an idea of what to expect.

However please watch for updated event calendars to verify times and events.


Friday has been the "Battle of the Bands" event which has been held in the Centennial Park, across from the Arena.
The Royal Canadian Legion Br #98 also holds a barbecue on Friday evening.



  • Saturday morning starts off with a Family Breakfast from 7:00 - 9:30 a.m. at the Kingston & District Fire Hall on Sparky Street.


  • Then it is off to see the Grand Street Parade from 10:45 to 11:45 which travels along Main Street through the village.
    At noon the steer are taken off the BBQ pits


  • From 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. there is a Craft Fair going on in the Arena. There are lots of crafts from the local area for sale and on display.


  • Also in the Arena from 12 noon until 4:00 p.m. there is bingo going on.


  • From 11:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. the food Services are going on. Food includes Burger Bits & Fries; Hamburgers; Hot dogs; French Fries; Poutine; Strawberry Short Cake; Cotton Candy; Milkshakes; Pop; Water and Coffee & Tea


  • It's Fun & Games from 11:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. with a Bounce Kingdom (Inflatable Pirate Ship, Inflatable Nascar Slide, Obstacle Course); plus Kiddy Train Rides and Wagon Rides.


  • 12 Noon until 6:00 p.m. the BEEF DINNERS will be going on in the Arena. Come taste this delicious meal.


  • At 1:00 p.m. in the Arena there will be a Dessert Bake Off.


  • There will also be lots of Musical Entertainment going on all through the day.


  • They also have other demonstrations and competitions going on throughout the day.