I went down to the Barbecue Battle today. It is also open tomorrow. It was definitely as previously reports expected. A $7 admission fee was charged which included free samples.
The "free samples" were sponsored by Safeway. Anyone who waited in that line deserved what they got. The line was crazy long and the samples were of course not worth waiting for.
The ribs were as reported many local restaurants selling sub par barbecue for above par prices. IMHO Famous Dave's is the best of the average, but in no way the best of the best. There was no best of the best available for the public.
The good stuff was slow cooked and served to the judges. I was not able to tell who had the best of the contestants.
Throughout the festival was many fun things for the kids, so the kids had a great time.
Bottom line, if you are looking for a fun family afternoon this will work. If you are looking for a good chowhound outing, this is not it.