In 1983, Joe Sink, Jr. started one of the Country’s most popular food festivals- the annual Lexington Barbecue Festival. He worked closely with local companies to finish a feasibility research on a new community occasion. The first annual Barbecue Festival in Lexington happened on October 27, 1984. Event professional, Kay Saintsing and her staff at Saintsing Management Services (now Preferred Events) produced the festival. Preferred Events now works throughout the year planning Lexington’s biggest events. Tragically, Kay Saintsing unexpectedly passed away at age 53 on June 7, 2002. Continuing with the household custom, Kay’s daughter Stephanie continues to prepare this crucial neighborhood occasion.
Essential to the success of the event has actually been the unique cooperation given to the festival by the City of Lexington, Davidson County, along with the owners of the popular barbecue dining establishments throughout the area. This support, paired with sponsorships provided by area businesses, has made sure the continued tradition and development of the Annual Barbecue Festival stays alive.
Today, the festival has actually ended up being a yearly tradition that is held on one of the last 2 Saturdays of October. In addition to the celebration, the City of Lexington and Davidson County has actually formally proclaimed October as “Barbecue” month. Events are held throughout the month of October, which result in the grand finale, the Barbecue Festival. Events that are held during the month of October include the Tour de Pig-the yearly biking occasion benefiting the Mental Health Association in Davidson County. Along with this, there is a golf competition, soccer competition, and softball competition. All of these occasions draw talented athletes from throughout the Southeast. There is also a contest for creative writers, the Pepsi “Pig Tales” composing compatition. The occasion is open to youngsters and adults. Expert staff at the Lexington Branch of the Davidson County Public Library serve a judges for the competition. Winners in all divisions win a year’s supply of Pepsi.
In 1984, the Barbecue Festival attracted about 30,000 people and the barbecue chefs cooked 3,000 pounds of barbecue. In 1994, the crowd was in excess of 100,000 individuals and 11,000 pounds of Barbecue were served. Locals, accustomed to seeing pits loaded with pork shoulders, have the ability to view the state’s leading whole-hog food preparation professionals- nearly all of them from the seaside plain. In 2000, crowds were approximated at even more than 140,000 visitors to Lexington. In 2013, an approximated 200,000 people celebrated the greatest-, and it was by many accounts, the very best Barbecue Festival in the city’s history. Everyone is happy of the development and success the celebration has achieved over the past thirty years.
The Festival is held in Uptown Lexington. A nine-block stretch of Main Street is closed to traffic, with banners at either end announcing the Festival with a logo design showcasing 4 dancing pigs. Over four hundred exhibitors sell everything from handmade crafts to handmade fudge. Six stages of entertainment showcase national and regional artists. The festival is for individuals of all ages and includes a special area of trips and games for children, the Barbecue Carnival & Family Area. Below from “Mission Central”, the heart of the Festival, comes the unique Festival barbecue, which is a result of the integrated effort of seven masters of the trade. The Barbecue Festival is specifically proud that numerous civic and non-profit companies are able to raise funds by providing parking or selling concessions, raffle tickets, etc., during the Festival. This is likewise, an outstanding opportunity for the companies to present info and enlighten the general public. Unique areas of information booths are located next to Davidson County’s historical courthouse.
As any BBQ lover understands, Lexington, North Carolina is the Barbecue Capital of the world. The barbecue is legendary. Lexington’s very first barbecue dining establishment opened in 1919. It was simply a camping tent in the middle of town set up by Sid Weaver. Right after that, Jesse Swicegood opened a stand, too. The company was great, and both guys practiced other barbecue chefs, including Warner Stamey. Now there are over twenty barbecue restaurants in Lexington. The development of barbecue in Lexington reads like an ancestral tree, with today’s chefs buying and using cooking methods similar to the ones Sid Weaver and Jesse Swicegood used over sixty years back. What exactly makes Lexington barbecue so special? The reason is pork; of course, the shoulder is the cut of choice in Lexington. The pork shoulders are prepared slowly for about and long an hour a pound-over hickory wood till it is fall apart tender. The shoulders are basted with “dip”, a mix of vinegar, salt, water, and pepper. As the dip and fat drip onto the coals, smoke is created that rises up, surrounds and permeates the meat, and offers it a rich, enticing flavor. The meat is served sliced, although sliced up can be requested, with even more of the basting sauce on the side. Barbecue from Lexington is so well known that Craig Claiborne included it on the menu of the Williamsburg Economic Summit, where the world’s leaders got a taste of real American food. Some restaurants provide “air-express” barbecue delivery, where they deliver overnight barbecue requests all over the United States.
The Annual Barbecue Festival has actually been acknowledged country wide, regionally, and state broad for its excellence. Travel & Leisure Magazine, designated as a Top Twenty October Event by the Southeast tourism Society, belongs of the Library of Congress’ Local Legacy Event, and has won more than fifty honors. The N.C. Association of Festivals and Events Excellence Awards program, has acknowledged the event as one of the “Top Ten Food Festival in America”. The celebration was also given the name of “One of Ten Great Places to Celebrate Food” by USA Today.
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