Annual waterfront barbecue festival kicks off Friday

Published 6:43 pm Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Pig Parade is back on the schedule for Smoke on the Water, Washington’s premiere barbecue festival.

The 21st-annual waterfront festival is slated to kick off Friday afternoon, as vendors open for business along the waterfront and barbecue cookers are welcomed. A New Orleans second line-style procession, the Pig Parade returns this year after a hiatus and will leave from West Main and Gladden streets at 6:15 p.m., then circle around Stewart Parkway.

The festival is the work of Washington (noon) Rotary Club and proceeds are dispersed to support the work of local nonprofits throughout the year. According to Smoke on the Water organizer and noon Rotarian Pamela Anderson, there are 31 competitors in the barbecue contest this year. Twenty-two of those are cooking on gas grills; the other nine on wood.

“We have close to 20 chili cookers and more than 50 vendors,” Anderson said.

New this year is a movie night for children in the Kids Zone at Crab Park, located at the corner of West Main Street and Stewart Parkway. The movie, described as an animated children’s Halloween-themed movie, starts at 7 p.m. and is free to the public, courtesy of Beaufort-Hyde-Martin Regional Library.

(Vail Stewart Rumley/Daily News)

Saturday, the festivities start with the Civitan Club breakfast fundraiser starting at 7:30 a.m., and a 5K race and barbecue judging at 8 a.m., followed by a classic car show, the Chili Cook Off judging, children’s amusements, a Fire Engine pull, artists and other vendors selling their wares, live music throughout the day and, of course, barbecue and chili sales.

“It’s rain or shine. No matter what, we’re selling barbecue,” Anderson said.

In addition to noon Rotary-hosted activities, downtown merchants will be adding to the festivities by decorating their businesses’ windows with a barbecue/pig-themed — judges will award $100 to the best window — as well as hosting their own events, including live music on the patio at Ribeyes on Stewart Parkway on Friday night. The Wine Crate will continue the Smoke on the Water party after the festival closes down at 5 p.m. with The Cratest Block Party, blocking off Water Street for wine tasting, music and dancing.

Anderson said many people pitch in to make Smoke on the Water happen every year, “but we couldn’t do the festival without our title sponsors, Smithfield and Nutrien.”

For more information about Smoke on the Water, including a schedule of all events, see today’s special Smoke on the Water section of the Washington Daily News.