An estimated 85,000 people attended the 2011 Got to Be NC Festival, May 20-22, at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. Sponsored by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the free event featured more than 1,000 pieces of antique farm equipment, the Got to Be NC Food and Wine Expo, Carolina FiberFest, animal interactions, carnival rides, live music, grandstand events and more. In addition to the agricultural exhibits, the festival hosted barbecue and bluegrass competitions Saturday.
The sixth annual Masonic Carolina Pig Jig barbecue competition drew more than 3,000 people in it’s third year as a part of the festival. Teams representing 33 Masonic lodges from North Carolina, Virginia and Delaware faced off for bragging rights and to raise money for the Central Children’s Home and Masonic Home for Children, both of Oxford. More than 2 tons of N.C. pork was cooked during the event.
Hiram Lodge #40 of Raleigh won the Grand Champion trophy for the second consecutive year. The Team Spirit platter was presented to Mentor Lodge #55, P.H.A., of Raleigh and Salem Lodge #289 of Winston-Salem took home the People’s Choice Award. Additional awards were presented for best barbecue pork, chicken and sauce. The winners were:
First place: Orphan’s Lodge #761 of Oxford
Second place: J.J. Crowder Lodge #743 of Raleigh
Third place: Hiram Lodge #40 of Raleigh
First place: Spurmont Lodge #98 of Strasburg, Va.
Second place: Hiram Lodge #40 of Raleigh
Third place: Salem Lodge #289 of Winston-Salem
First place: Hiram Lodge #40 of Raleigh
Second place: Widow’s Son #4, P.H.A. of Raleigh
Third place: Green Level #277 of Cary
A bluegrass competition also was held Saturday, with Bethesda Bluegrass Band taking top honors. Eight amateur bands were judged on musicality, crowd appeal, vocal performance and instrument performances during the contest. Cash prizes were awarded to the top three bands, and the winner earned a chance to perform at Preddyfest in Franklinton later this year. Bridgetowne of Asheboro came in second and Passin’ Thru of Ramseur finished third in the competition.
Plans are already underway for the 2012 Got to Be NC Festival. More information about next year’s festival will be available at www.ncagfest.com later in the year. For now, mark your calendars for May 18-20, 2012.