Bluegrass music fans coming to Raleigh for the International Bluegrass Music Association’s annual World of Bluegrass week in September will also have a chance to chow down at the N.C. Whole Hog Barbecue State Championship in the capital city’s downtown.
The North Carolina Pork Council, the sanctioning body for the annual N.C. Whole Hog Series of cooking contests held around the state leading to the championship event, announced the link with the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) event. This partnership links the cook-off with a monster bluegrass festival that is expected to draw tens of thousands to downtown Raleigh.
The IBMA will host its annual conference, awards show and festival September 24-28. The 27th and 28th will be dedicated to the Wide Open Blue Grass festival. The two days of music will basically turn downtown Raleigh’s Event Campus (the RaleighConvention Center, Red Hat Amphitheater and Duke Energy Center
for the Performing Arts) into the epicenter of bluegrass music. More than 60 of the nation’s greatest bluegrass bands are expected to perform.
The annual cooking championship is the culmination of the state qualifying series that includes 15 to 20 local barbecue competitions conducted as part of community events in Tar Heel cities and towns from April into September.
Over the six-month stretch, the series typically attracts more than 100,000 North Carolinians, including scores of cooking teams seeking to qualify for the championship events. Around 30 teams typically qualify for the final competition, based on a set of criteria used by the Pork Council.
At the Raleigh final event, as is the case in all the events throughout the season, the cooked barbecue is collected after judging, chopped and sold in plates to the general public.
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