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Jan Siegel By Jan Siegel

Nothing says summer more than outdoor barbecues, and after two long years of pandemic restrictions, the barbecue season is back in San Juan Capistrano. Two major events are taking place in August, and both support the San Juan Capistrano Historical Society. 

The first one is Saturday, Aug. 13, at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park. This is a Kansas City Barbecue Society-sanctioned Master Series contest, and the Historical Society is proud to present the inaugural event at the Riding Park, located on the corner or Ortega Highway and Avenida La Pata. This Master Series contest will feature teams from all over the Southwestern United States and Mexico vying for Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion purse and belt buckle.

“This first-year event has been in the works for months and planned for Orange County residents to celebrate this popular all-American food at one of the most beautiful venues in San Juan Capistrano,” said Ted Rosenfeldt, chairperson for the event and Historical Society Board member.

Come and see if your taste buds agree with the experts picking the winners for the best barbecue. Vendors and competition teams will be selling barbecue samples and entrees. Local breweries will be selling beer and wine. 

There will be a cornhole tournament open to the public, hosted by the American Cornhole Association. There is a $40 registration fee, with prize money up to $1,000 for first place. Registration is online at There will also be a $5 Airmail Long Throw contest.  

This event is free to the public with paid parking. Hours for the event are 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. More than $15,000 in prizes will be awarded to barbecue winners. There will be 10 places per category awarded prize money. Categories include meat and chicken. Besides the Kansas City Barbecue Society, California Cornhole and the San Juan Capistrano Historical Society, local sponsors include Reata Glen, VCS Environmental, Santa Margarita Water District and Daniel Fine Art Services. 

And after a two-year hiatus, the San Juan Capistrano Historical Society’s Heritage BBQ will return on Sunday, Aug. 21, on the grounds of the O’Neill Museum on Los Rios Street. Our famous barbecue tri-tip and chicken by Brian Vermuelen and his team of pitmasters will once again be on the grounds of the Historical Society. The barbecue includes trip-tip, chicken, rice, beans, tortillas, salad and a bottle of water. Beer and wine will also be available. In addition, more amazing raffles will be available. Come and meet the old-timers in town and learn about the changes happening on our site and how your support makes historic preservation possible.  

The cost for the event is $50 per person. All proceeds support historic preservation at the Historical Society. The event time is 3-6 p.m.  Reservations are a must. Please call 949.493.8444. or email for reservations. 

You can spend a “Moment in Time” this month enjoying delicious barbecue, learning about our local history and preserving our culture. Two great events for your summer pleasure.  

Jan Siegel was a 33-year resident of San Juan Capistrano and now resides in the neighboring town of Rancho Mission Viejo. She served on the city’s Cultural Heritage Commission for 13 years, has been a volunteer guide for the San Juan Capistrano Friends of the Library’s architectural walking tour for 26 years and is currently the museum curator for the San Juan Capistrano Historical Society. She was named Woman of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce in 2005, Volunteer of the Year in 2011 and was inducted into the city’s Wall of Recognition in 2007.

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