MOUNT OLIVE – One sign of fall in Mount Olive is the aroma of pork barbecue cooking on grills, wafting over downtown.
The third annual Pickles, Pigs & Swigs returns to Mount Olive on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 10-11. The N.C. Pork Council-sanctioned whole hog barbecue cook-off gets underway Friday evening, followed by the Saturday festival and BBQ plate sale from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The day features live music, craft beer from R&R Brewing, free Mt. Olive Pickles, local vendors, rides on the Pickle Train, and more.
Smithfield Foods is again on board as the Presenting Sponsor for this year’s event, providing the pigs for the cook-off, said Julie Beck, president of the Mount Olive Area Chamber of Commerce. “We are so thankful to have Smithfield’s support this year. They are terrific partners.”
Organizers are seeking other sponsors, as well as cook teams, and local vendors.
“For the first two years we really focused on learning the mechanics of hosting a whole hog cook off and plate sale, and on bringing people to downtown for a good festival experience,” Beck said. “We also changed the date up a bit to see what would work best. We have landed this year on the second weekend of November, and that will be our date moving forward. We are also building on what we’ve learned to grow the plate sale, grow the festival, and most importantly, grow the money we raise to support downtown.”
Proceeds from the event benefit the Mount Olive Community Development Corporation in its efforts to spearhead downtown revitalization efforts.
“The underlying purpose of Pickles, Pigs & Swigs is important to the future of downtown, but the event itself is designed for people to enjoy a beautiful fall day with family and friends, live music, and hometown favorites,” said Lynn Williams, who also serves on the organizing committee.
Pickles, Pigs & Swigs currently seeks cook teams for the BBQ competition. The field for this first year will be limited to 20 teams, accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.
Last year’s winners included Jason Baker of Baker Boys BBQ, Goldsboro; Lynwood Harper of Pork Stars, Kenansville, and James Wilder of Wilders Old Style BBQ, Dudley.
Those interested in fielding a team can apply and pay online at eventeny.com/events/pickles-pigs-swigs-6520/.
The event is also looking for sponsors and vendors. For more information, contact the Mount Olive Area Chamber of Commerce at (919) 658-3113.