Frequently Asked Questions

Where’s my money going?
Chris Shepherd launched Southern Smoke in 2015 after learning his friend and former sommelier Antonio Gianola was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. To date, Southern Smoke has donated more than $1.4 million–both directly to people in need or to organizations that represent the needs of people in our industry like Antonio. As Chris says, Southern Smoke was created to “take care of our own.”

This year, the Southern Smoke Festival will once again benefit the MS Society in honor of Antonio, as well as Southern Smoke’s year-round Emergency Relief Fund for people in the food and beverage industry.

Are tickets still available?
General Admission tickets are still available and can be purchased here.

How does the check-in process work?
All tickets are electronic this year (there are no actual tickets), and your name (and your guests names, if you entered them) are on our list. Upon check-in, you’ll receive a wristband if you’re over 21, and VIP ticket holders will receive a lanyard that grants them entry into the Lexus VIP areas.

What time does Will Call open?
Will Call will open at 1pm. If you’d like to come early and check in to receive your wristband and/or VIP lanyards, you can walk right in when the gates open.

What time can Lexus VIP ticket holders get in?
Lexus VIP ticket holders get in one hour early at 3pm, as do sponsors and media with all-access badges. General admission ticket holders get in at 4pm.

Is the event kid-friendly?
We will be checking IDs at the door, and you must show your ID to enter and drink alcohol. Anyone over the age of 3 must purchase a ticket. Strollers are not permitted. There are no discounts for a child’s ticket.

What happens if it rains?
This event is rain or shine. The event will not be rescheduled, and we will not issue refunds.

Where do I park?
Receive 20% off your next two Lyft rides (to and from the festival) by using the promo code SSFALL19. Users can redeem by entering the code into the promo section of their app or clicking the link: https://www.lyft.com/invite/SSFALL19
Max savings $4 per ride.

We will offer valet parking (enter at Missouri and Commonwealth), but space is very, very limited.

You can self park at Charity Guild of Catholic Women 1203 Lovett Blvd. (two blocks from the festival). Space is very, very limited. Shuttles will be running throughout the event.

Can I come and go from the event?
There is no re-entry.

I purchased a VIP ticket. When/where do I pick up my gift bag?
We will distribute VIP bags at the Lexus VIP tent. You can pick up your bags at any time during the event or at Will Call beginning at 1pm. We will be marking your VIP lanyard tag to confirm you have picked up your bag. If you have an all-access badge, you do not receive a gift bag.

I want to make a night of it. Do you have special rates at any local hotels?
The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa is our host hotel. They’ve graciously offered a Southern Smoke package for $239/night, which includes:

  • Deluxe accommodations October 4-7
  • Texas-themed arrival amenity
  • Two complimentary cocktails at The Bar
  • Three resort pools and complimentary use of the exclusive Houstonian Club
  • Complimentary self-parking

Click here to book your hotel package.