Barbecue, burgers and lots of brews on the menu at Fort Worth Food & Wine Festival

The Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival serves up its fourth year of events, happening all around Cowtown, March 30-April 1, with the catchphrase Yippee Ki Yum!

The annual fundraiser kicks off in traditional fashion with the BBQ Showdown, a Thursday evening barbecue extravaganza in the Watt Arena at Will Rogers Memorial Center, rounding up some of the biggest talent in Texas’ smokehouse world, including Heim Barbecue, Kreuz Market, Lockhart Smokehouse, Black’s BBQ and Ten50 BBQ.

Friday night’s Main Event stars the best and brightest in North Texas fine dining — guests feast on dishes from Bolsa, Bonnell’s, Bird Café, Ellerbe Fine Foods, Knife, Nonna Tata and Rough Creek Lodge, among many — along with exceptional wines from domestic and international producers.

Patrons put on dancing shoes for Desserts After Dark, happening late Friday night, with sweets supplied by a roster that includes Stir Crazy Baked Goods, Sweet Lucy’s Pies and Dr. Sue’s Chocolate, just for starters.

Saturday morning’s Rise + Dine brunch gathering provides a jump-start toward the homestretch, with Cannon Chinese Kitchen, Café Modern, Press Café, Righteous Foods and Cork & Pig Tavern filling plates with goodies.

Saturday evening’s Burgers, Blues & Brews is typically the weekend scene-stealer, thanks to the bounty of sliders offered by Fred’s Texas Café, Rodeo Goat, Swiss Pastry Shop, LUCK and plenty more, washed down by more than two dozen craft beer choices, with a side of live music acts.

Tickets for events start at $60, with VIP All-Access Passes for $400. All tickets and info at fwfwf.com.

Warming up the crowd and helping raise money for culinary school scholarships, the Festival hosts its CenterStage gala on Feb. 21 (In just three years, the Fort Worth Food + Wine Foundation has already awarded $70,000 in scholarships to deserving North Texas students). Beginning with champagne and caviar, the evening finds seven Fort Worth chefs each contributing a different course for a dinner served with wine pairings on the stage at Bass Performance Hall in downtown Fort Worth.

The gala celebrates a new recipient of the Walter Kaufmann Lifetime Achievement Award, named for the beloved Swiss-born chef considered the godfather of Fort Worth’s fine dining scene. CenterStage tickets are $250 each, with all proceeds directly benefiting the Foundation’s scholarship program.

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