Pig Parade goes public

Published 9:29 pm Monday, September 17, 2012

Cast members from Monsters on Main, a Halloween extravaganza held each year on East Main Street, dressed up to march in the 2010 Pig Parade. (WDN File Photo/Christ Prokos)

Lisa Woolard is looking for a few good pigs.
Woolard is tasked with corralling revelers for Smoke on the Water’s annual Pig Parade — the parade that will kickoff the premiere barbecue contest of the year, the 28th-annual North Carolina Championship Barbecue Cook-off.
“We want the Pig Parade to be exciting — to have some really cool pig-entrants,” Woolard said.
Woolard, a member of Washington Noon Rotary, Smoke on the Water’s organizers, said that this year she’s opening up the parade to the public, to any group or individual looking to get a little piggy with costumes and decorations.
The parade takes place the Friday evening of Smoke on the Water weekend, Oct. 26-27.
Washington’s waterfront barbecue festival traditionally starts with the Pig Parade, which is part celebration of scrumptious barbecue yet to be cooked throughout the night and part homage to the many pigs sacrificed in the name of great barbecue. Last year’s parade featured the Washington High School marching band, playing a funeral-like dirge, turned second line-like jazz performance, as it preceded the “sacrificial” costumed pig down Main Street.
“We’re still going to have the coffin and the (costumed) mourners for the poor pigs who have given up their lives to the cook-off. But we’d love to have more pig-related paraders,” Woolard said.
While barbecue won’t be judged, or served, until Saturday morning, Woolard said there will be plenty to do and see downtown Friday night after the parade: music at the Festival Park stage, a stroll through the many booths decorated with barbecue themes, with winners of the “showmanship” competition to be announced at 8 p.m. that night.
In addition to the kickoff parade, organizers have Saturday filled with activities and events to entertain the whole family, according to Woolard: a 5K race, vendors and artisans, a skydiving exhibition, music and sidewalk sales.
But if locals are looking to actively participate in Smoke on the Water, beyond eating barbecue and chili, Woolard is extending an invitation to dress up as your favorite pig, or just come as you are and she’ll hand you a pig snout to wear and a sign to carry.
“(The Pig Parade) gets people in the mood to come out and see what’s going on. It sets the tone for all the rest of the events going on Saturday,” Woolard said. “I think people will come to this and then want to come back because we’re having so much fun.”
For more information about participating in Smoke on the Water’s Pig Parade, call Lisa Woolard at 252-975-4667, ext. 3.