5:53 AM Derek , 1 Comment
34 years ago the Eastern North Carolina town of Newport was in need of money to support the Newport Developmental Center for handicapped children. While soliciting fundraising ideas, some locals suggested a pig cooking contest. Newport is, after all, right in the middle of North Carolina's whole hog BBQ territory.
With the help of several volunteers, the first ever Newport Pig Cooking Contest was held in 1979. That day saw 42 hogs cooked and nearly $15,000 raised for the developmental center. Since that inaugural event, the contest has grown into what organizers say is the "Largest Whole Hog" contest in the United States. This year, 80 competition teams from all over the region joined the fray and cooked hogs with the proceeds still being donated to worthy local charities.
As luck would have it, Katie and I had scheduled a short vacation to Atlantic Beach on the same weekend that neighboring Newport held its 2012 contest. The weather report was ominous, but we decided to make the short trip anyway to check out the festivities.
Held in a community park near the epicenter of town, the event wasn't hard to find. When we arrived around 10:00 a.m., the event was in full swing. Craft vendors were open, carnival rides were rolling, volunteers were pig pickin and Elvis was performing.
|Elvis impersonator: Ryder Preston|
While we sat under the shelter of the pavilion eating our pork plates, the rains came. With a baby in tow and no umbrella to shield us from the downpour, we called it a day and headed back to our car. Our trip to Newport was short lived thanks to the weather, but I'm certainly glad we stopped in. I love seeing small town citizens ban together for a great cause. It reminds me of the small festivals held in my home town (Reading, MI) and surrounding communities. It's an added bonus when the festivals involve BBQ.
If you've never attended the Newport Pig Cooking Contest, mark your calender for next year's event. It's a top notch experience for BBQ pilgrims, especially for those who love North Carolina "Q". Check out the Pig Cooking Contest's website for details