2013 Pig and a Jig BBQ Festival in pictures and text

Once upon a time, the massive, weekend-long food orgy we locally call Pork in the Park got its start, and I imagine it went something along the lines of what was held yesterday down in Snow Hill, Maryland. Then again, our county doesn’t have a large defunct auto dealership turned into a body shop to hold an event at. This used to be Sho-Wil Chevy-Oldsmobile, or so the large tent said.

At least these guys went out and hired an expert, as Sandy Fulton (right) has been involved with Pork in the Park since the beginning.

Certainly the Snow Hill Middle School PTA may have hit upon a winner of an event. For those of you expecting thousands of people, a throng of vendors, and dozens of competitors, though, you would be a little disappointed with this modest beginning.

A total of eight amateur teams vied for the $100 top prize in chicken and pork, along with $200 for the overall winner. I’m not sure how the vendors did, but there were a few there.

There was also a somewhat limited selection of food at this gathering, including ribs for sale from Famous Dave’s and Phat Boyz BBQ. Hey, it’s a start.

By the way, the best chicken prize was won by Broke Bob’s BBQ (obviously Bob is a little less broke) while Spicy Guys BBQ (who sent their lone girl up to claim the prize) won the best pork. But the overall champion was Tribal Smokers, which finished second in both categories.

Lest you think there wasn’t much going on there, well, there was a variety of activities. We missed the cornhole tournament, but could have sharpened our horseshoe skills.

Now a number of people left after the awards, since they had likely arrived very early to the site for their chance at the cash. But quite a few hung around in the chill to listen to one of the five bands featured. (Spoiler alert: there is also the return of Weekend of Local Rock for a post next weekend.)

This couple made themselves at home in the hay, much to the delight of onlookers.

Others in the even younger set found the bales fun to horse around in.

I imagine the young teenage boy, unseen under the lump of straw on the right side of the photo, is still scrubbing it out of his clothes, hair, etc. He had a lot of fun with it.

Another entertainer not on the bill was this talented young man.

I suggested he should try his luck on the Boardwalk because he could probably pay for a semester or two every summer, with a little more practice.

But as the sun set over the horizon, the vendors had packed up and the food court was doing the same. I think Phat Boyz was the only one left selling as we left. Well, that and the beer tent.

Yet aside from the food, which was a little on the pricey side – not that it’s an uncommon thing at these types of events – this was a relatively cheap way to spend the afternoon. With a little better weather and a year’s experience under their belt, I see no reason why they can’t draw a couple thousand next year.

Their main goal is to become a KCBS-sanctioned event next year, which will certainly make the stakes a lot higher for the teams. If they can get to a point where they’re drawing 30 or 40 teams, perhaps 20 to 30 vendors, and maybe a dozen different restaurants (not all of them sell ribs) that would be a superb one-day event for the Snow Hill area to bookend their season (Blessing of the Combines is their prime tourism draw, and they also have the annual Worcester County Fair, both in August.)

So congratulations on a job well done to Pig and a Jig. I look forward to bigger and better things next year. And also, as I said above, look for the Weekend of Local Rock post on the event this coming weekend.

Blessing of the Combines in pictures and text

Today my significant other and I wandered down to Snow Hill for the 13th Annual Blessing of the Combines. In its short history the event appears to have placed the otherwise sleepy town of Snow Hill on the map.

(Just so you know, some of the photos I’m featuring come from my girlfriend, and if you can’t figure it out from the enhanced quality of her photography compared to mine I’ll have to clue you in. The one to start this post is by Kim Corkran.)

The event begins with a parade, and seeing a row of combines coming down the road can be impressive.

Some of the combines had politicians on them. Andy Harris joked that it was one of the few times he was on the left, but Norm Conway and Jim Mathias were at home there.

I did get the chance to bend Andy’s ear a little later. The lady in the center is former Delegate candidate and Worcester County Republican Chair Marty Pusey. (Photo by Kim Corkran.)

Now that they’ve wrapped up the budget, I want Andy to work on reducing those government mandates!

Both political parties were represented there, although the Republicans were a little more open about it.

Meanwhile, two tables down the Democrats were trying to register voters as well.

But there was something I noticed about their table – not one item I saw mentioned President Obama. Odd, don’t you think? Maybe the local Democrats are running away from him?

Interestingly enough, the featured speaker was Nelson Brice. He serves the federal government as the District Conservationist for the USDA, and he pointed out how farmers were helping the environment.

Still, most of the people there weren’t interested in politics. The actual blessing was handled by the Rev. Rick Edmund, a former Snow Hill pastor who now serves a church in the village of Ewell out on Smith Island.

For the kids, there was plenty to do – crafts, face painting, a bounce house, a petting zoo, and the chance to play in a bed of soybeans, all tucked away on Pearl Street.

If their parents wandered around the block the kids could have a pony ride as well.

This feathered friend awaited across the way (photo by Kim Corkran.)

And kids of all ages who like to eat had plenty to choose from. I took this while standing in line waiting for some pit beef.

While standing in that line, Kim took this unique crowd shot. (So did I but hers came out better.)

While we were eating, the band began to play. Mike Short, Jr. and Statewide were the featured performers, playing a mix of country and rock originals and covers.

The second photo of Mike is by Kim Corkran.

After listening to his band for a spell, we worked our way down to one of my favorite parts of the event, the Wheels That Heal car show.

Here’s a pair of Pontiac Firebirds from a bygone era.

My dad used to have a truck like this but it was in nowhere near this good of shape.

For those who wanted to really relive a bygone era, there was the opportunity to ride a horse-drawn carriage.

It also was a chance to meet friends old and new. Kim took this last picture of this couple, who have been married 55 years. Surely they saw a lot of people they knew and probably recalled a lot who are no longer with us.

If you weren’t there, you missed a chance to celebrate our rural heritage with a family-friendly event. Come the first Saturday in August 2012 you just might find us there again!