Boaters dock in Paducah to visit, enjoy barbecue festival

A snapshot from Sky 6 video shows Paducah’s transient dock

PADUCAH — An estimated 40,000 to 50,000 people are expected to attend the 24th ever Barbecue on the River in Paducah. Some of those out of town visitors are arriving, not by car, but buy boat.


Barry and Robin Newland are from Richmond, Virginia, and are in the midst of a year-long adventure traveling America’s rivers and waterways.

“Traveling by water, we get to see a lot of this country in a way that most people don’t,” Barry said.

Barry Newland of Richmond, Virginia

They planned to spend one or two nights at Paducah’s new transient dock, but plans changed when they discovered all that Paducah had to offer. That included the festivities, food and fun at Barbecue on the River.

“We got here, and found out about the barbecue festival, and said ‘Well, we have to stay for that!’ so it’ll be four nights for us in Paducah,” Barry said.

Those are four nights Barry and other boaters, referred to as loopers, will spend injecting money into the local economy. As avid boaters for years, they said they’re impressed with Paducah’s new riverfront dock.

“This is probably one of the best infrastructures that we’ve seen,” Barry said.

Barry and Robin Newland of Virginia are traveling on this 2001 Selene 43.

The Newlands said they’re always eager to learn about the locations they visit. They’ve already taken time to tour local museums, and even rented a car to travel to Bowling Green to visit the National Corvette Museum. They said the barbecue festival in Paducah is a big plus.

“Oh, yes. Dry rubs, sauces — there are probably types of barbecue that I haven’t experienced yet that my wife has experienced. So, we’ll give it a try and see if we like it, and if so, we’ll put it on the list to have some more,” Barry laughed.

It’s a welcome detour on the waterway adventure of a lifetime.

To read about Barry and Robin Newland’s stop in Paducah, read their blog by clicking here.