Well-known for the Extravaganza, the Brainerd Jaycees wanted to establish a summer event, so in 2002 the Great Northern BBQ was born. True to the original goal of bringing barbecue to the Brainerd Lakes, the Jaycees hosted a national and local barbecue competition and live music festival. Over the years, the nature of the event has changed a bit but has always included the Cub Foods Rib Fest, a local barbecue competition judged by the participants who select the best non-profit ribs, best local business ribs, and best decorated booth.
In 2008, the Brainerd Jaycees renamed the event the Street Fest on 7th and found a home in downtown Brainerd. The scope of the festival changed to incorporate food and craft vendors and family activities, including eating contests and children’s games. The downtown businesses have embraced the event with greater involvement every year, including a downtown business carnival in which businesses give away a flat-screen TV. New in 2011, the Brainerd Jaycees added a battle of the bands competition in which the top band won $1,000.