Smoke on the Water starts next week 

Published 10:46 am Friday, October 14, 2022

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Barbecue competitions simultaneously bring people together and divide them. While most people enjoy a good barbecue, how the meat is seasoned and grilled is what separates vinegar sauce fanatics from the tomato sauced based devotees and every sauce in between. 

Starting Friday, Oct. 21, Smoke on the Water barbecue competition will bring people together, but 41 competitors will be judged on who has the best traditionally cooked (with either wood or charcoal) and who has the best barbecue using a gas grill. 

Chili afficianatos also get in on the fun of competing. They too are judged in a cookoff on who has the best recipe. 

The grilling begins on Friday evening but the judging takes place the next day, Saturday, Oct. 22. 

Smoke on the Water is held for a reason that can bring everyone together – supporting local nonprofits. Money collected from the event will be distributed to local nonprofits who can apply throughout the year for money that can help them fulfill their missions. Smoke on the Water is hosted by the Washington Rotary Club. Event coordinator, Pam Anderson, said the two-day event averages $20,000 raised for nonprofit organizations. 

Anderson said she wouldn’t have been able to organize Smoke on the Water for the last 25 years without the help of volunteers. “The Washington Noon Rotary is a great group of volunteers who devote endless hours of volunteer time to pull this off,” Anderson said. 

During the two-day event, a 5k will be held as a fundraiser for Washington Montessori Public Charter School and a hot dog sale to fundraise for United Way. A breakfast on Saturday will be a fundraiser for Civitan on the Pamlico. Live music will play on Friday night all day on Saturday and there will be a beer garden. All day on Saturday, Oct. 22, there is a car show. 

For kids, there will be train rides and special events under the children’s tent. Aurora Fossil Museum will bring material kids can dig through for shark teeth and Beaufort – Hyde Partnership for Children will have pumpkin decorating. Also, East Carolina University theater program will perform and literacy volunteers will read to children. 

Unique to Smoke on the Water is what’s similar to a New Orleans funeral dirge where attendees mourn the death of the pigs who made the ultimate sacrifice so the competition could happen. People dress up in pig attire and walk through downtown. 

It is a tongue-in-cheek joke that kicks off the event. 

Anderson advises people who plan to attend the competition to get to Smoke on the Water early in the morning if they would like to purchase barbecue made by one or more of the 41 pitmasters. She said the barbecue always runs out.