"I never smoked anything before," Rivera said. "There's been a lot of learning along the way."
His first competition was last year's BBQ Bash and since then he's "gotten better." Rivera has been in eight competitions since, earning second place titles and other awards.
Kingsville resident Dennis Frederick volunteered for the event to monitor the entrance/exit onto Bond Street, making sure attendees didn't take their alcoholic drinks off the premises.
"So far people are being really good," he said. It was Frederick's first year at the event.
"It's a lot bigger than I thought and pretty impressive. There are a lot of people here."
At one point during his day, Frederick was able to grab a pulled pork sandwich from Hess's and said it was "really good."
After volunteering, he said he would walk around "and see what's here."
Cindy Burk was another attendee to come from outside Harford County.
"I just came from the [Havre de Grace] Seafood Festival," Burk, who lives in Airville, Pa., said.
It was also her first time to the event, but she had seen similar festivals in Ohio, where she is originally from.
Before sampling what the food stands had to offer, Burk sat in the shade and enjoyed the music being played from the stage near Hays Street.
"I'm having a good time," she said.