Today is Earth Day, and what better way to celebrate than to fire up the barbecue grill and cook some meat?
Well, the weather may not cooperate today but yesterday was a nice day to be at Pork in the Park.
It was the ninth rendition of the annual event, which is claimed to be the largest barbecue festival east of the Mississippi River, and there were fairly decent crowds brought out by the summerlike weather.
We arrived around noontime or so, and the last photo was taken at the time we left, around 5 p.m. I think they’ve had larger crowds, but then again Pork in the Park was more spread out this year.
One of my favorite parts of the festival is walking back among the competitors to see what I can see. Sometimes it’s the whimsical signs, like these examples below.
Nor was it just the signs. You thought the neighbor who left the Christmas lights up all year was bad?
Well, it is Christmas City BBQ so I suppose I should give them a pass. But the salute to Tabasco made me scratch my head.
Yet it always amazes me what a big business this is, with specialized trailers and everything for the more serious teams.
There were a couple new wrinkles in the competition field, though. One was the involvement of Smithfield, a national pork processing company.
The other was the taping of ‘BBQ Pitmasters’, a cooking competition show which will air later this summer. A film crew was taping three teams in their own contest.
Still, there were dozens of teams trying to grab the brass ring, or at least a check and trophy. Here’s one putting the finishing touches on their entries.
It wasn’t all barbecue, though. There were other vendors who sold all kinds of wares.
Not sure what you can buy off these guys. But it broke my heart to leave the political field solely to them.
I noticed they had no Obama items there, nor any Ben Cardin. And they only had a few trifold fliers for Wendy Rosen which were geared for the primary. I asked if she would be here and the nice lady didn’t think so.
Five bucks would get you a ride on this beast. But if you wanted a higher perspective, it was $60 a couple for a helicopter ride.
Don’t tell anyone, but I’m glad to see this fairly new exhibitor. Not sure what they would recommend with pork but I would go with the Primal Pale Ale. It’s the other light beer.
Admission and shameless plug: I actually prefer North Carolina style BBQ over traditional sauce. These guys did it up right, with a nice and tangy sauce and flavorful pork that was tender. Hope they come back next year.
Since you probably can’t read the finer print based on the 480 pixel photo width, it’s The Little Red Pig BBQ out of Marshville, North Carolina. I saw that and immediately knew where dinner would come from. That’s not to disparage any of the other rib vendors, but I think I’ve tried most of the other ones.
I think the owner of this beauty was stopping by before he went to the monthly car show just down the road.
And I just wanted to add this final picture as a further tweak to Gaia lovers.
The inscription on the hood says: ‘Silly Jeepers, Leafs are for Trees.’ I took it as a swipe at Nissan’s electric car, and having a photo of someone who enjoys tearing around the wilderness in a carbon-belching vehicle just fit.
And while Gaia may have had the last laugh with the weather (I seem to recall it also rained the last time Pork in the Park was held on Earth Day) just the fact that thousands showed up to enjoy meat cooked over charcoal – a concoction which, when done correctly, belches out a smoky aroma which tofu just can’t match – made my weekend and put all the enviroweenies in their place. Low-impact tourism it ain’t, and I was glad to participate.
I also managed to get enough photos of people using thousands of watts of amplification – no acoustic crap here – that I can do a decent enough Weekend of Local Rock post. Look for it next weekend.