More than 5,000 people attended Destin Commons third annual Smoke on the Coast BBQ cook-off and fireworks festival on Tuesday, July 2. The Valley Crest Pit Crew was crowned the top BBQ on the Emerald Coast for the third straight year. In addition, next year’s Smoke on the Coast has already been scheduled for Thursday, July 3, 2014.

Eight of the top local masters competed for the hungry event-goers’ favorite BBQ selection. Valley Crest defended its title for the third year in a row, receiving the coveted People’s Choice Award by a significant margin. Their winning selections were highlighted by tender pulled pork with coleslaw and the guest-favorite pulled pork nachos.

Also in the running were Hard Rock Café, Bass Pro Shops, Hub City Smokehouse, Smokin’ Butts BBQ and Ferguson Enterprises.

Do you think your organization has what it takes to win the People’s Choice trophy? Local BBQ teams  and/or restaurants are urged to sign up for next year’s cook-off by reaching out to

In addition to the mouthwatering fare, event goers enjoyed music, street dancing by ENCORE! Productions, arts, crafts and facepainting by Abrakadoodle . Captain Davy entertained with balloon sculpting and an engaging magic show that was perfect for all ages. Local favorite pop/reggae band Heritage performed all night, entertaining a lively crowd as they enjoyed their samples. DJ Makaveli was also spinning throughout the evening, and hosted an all-ages hula hoop contest.

At 9 p.m., the evening capped off with a colorful, festive fireworks show in honor of Independence Day.

Fisher House of the Emerald Coast and Children in Crisis provided volunteers and both received a significant donation  from the proceeds.