Pork in the Park 2012 in pictures and text

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.

Author: Michael

It's me from my laptop computer.

5 thoughts on “Pork in the Park 2012 in pictures and text”

  1. Nice post man. I have been going to the festival for all nine years primarily to see the bbq vendors that come each year and taste some bbq. I am sure PITP is glad they are huge and getting larger each year but I was a little upset to know most of my fave food vendors won’t be coming back there again.

    This year I was kind of ticked that there was only a select few on the grass but a crap-load-and a half down in a gravel parking lot which used to be where we parked. I couldn’t even find the Big Daddy from NC or Holy Smoke pit beef or Big Fat Daddy’s who is famous for Baltimore pit beef history, and just like your pictures show, there was more or less a ghost town in the gravel except for one smokeshack guy playing Michael Jackson tunes.

    I know they give a lot of prizes to competitors but I am going to be very upset when all the good vendors that were in that back lot (with exception of rib man) won’t come back because they didnt sell anything or have lines.

    That is gonna suck for next year’s eats.

  2. I believe I saw Holy Smoke in the other food court over by the Piglet Korner.

    I am in agreement with you on your food assessment; not only that, it’s not comfortable to do a lot of walking on that surface and Lord knows Wicomico County isn’t paving that lot any time soon.

    Bear in mind that my gravel lot picture was taken at noon. But I can say that there was no line for my North Carolina BBQ – I was in and out in just a few minutes. On the other hand, the closer vendors had significant lines because my significant other was away about a half-hour getting her food.

    One thing I am curious about and you might enlighten me on: was the crowd good Friday night? I doubt Sunday was worth staying for because of the weather, but if you’re really serious about trying ribs you almost have to attend two days to catch all the rib vendors.

  3. Friday night the wife was tired, but but I remember in past years by noon on Saturday all the vendors all had lines and were all jammed up. I must have had time to talk to everyone in that food court (rocks killed wife’s feet) from noon to three on Saturday. Most were not happy campers. Yes, Friday was nice weather but I didn’t go. One vendor told me he paid a grand for the space but he looked pretty big, state fair set up, and sad that no one came. I too ate with a NC vendor, I imagine the NC guy would have paid the same space wise. By 3 o’clock on Saturday, a stand from Baltimore, DC, and PA with turkey legs said they were tearing down and pulling out. I suppose it was due to rains coming, or just couldn’t make any money. WOW.

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