ELIZABETHTOWN — Folks in Bladen County would have been hog tied to find a better place to be than Elizabethtown on Saturday.
This weekend marked the inaugural event of what organizers are hoping will be an annual occasion — the Pork & Beats Festival.
“Isn’t this wonderful?” questioned Elizabethtown Mayor Sylvia Campbell. “This is so good for Elizabethtown.”
Things kicked off Friday night, when entrants in the pork cook-off started the all-night process of cooking the 100-to-120-pound dressed pig they received. On Saturday, entries were judged on appearance, tenderness, and flavor. The Porkaholics took first place, followed by Rudy Lennon in second and Richard “Sling” Shaw in third. The pulled pork was then sold to benefit the fire department.
At Tory Hole, disc golf players from all over North Carolina gathered for the first tournament held at Elizabethtown’s newest sports field.
“This is a nice course,” said Matt Greinier, disc golf enthusiast. “It”ll be a good course for families. It’s got some nice, easy holes that will be good for kids and beginners, so I think it will be something the community will really enjoy.”
In all, 33 people entered the disc golf tournament, and first place went to Tony Hoel. Though Hoel’s score automatically set a course record since this was the first competition, his score may stand for a while. Hoel took the top spot of the nine-hole course with an 18 and was one of three competitors to ace a hole. A $250 prize had been promised for an ace, so the trio ended up taking home $82 and some change each.
“It’ll pay for gas,” laughed Greiner, who was also one of the three and drove from Moore County to compete in the tournament.
Tying for second place with a score of 20 were Michael Bloom, John Graham, and Alan Layh.
Scores ranged from Hoel’s 18 to a 42 in last place.
In keeping with the spirit of competition was the E-town Ramp Massacre 2, a skateboarding tournament held at the ramp on King Street. Organized by Friends of the Skateparks Foundation and Daville Skate Shop in Fayetteville, the competition saw entrants compete in three rounds in each of four categories: under 18, 18-34, over 35 (which was referred to by everyone there as “the old man competition”) and sponsored.
“This is a great ramp,” said Donnie McKiver, who was visiting from Wilmington. “It’s super fast, which we really like.”
The competitors, most clad in jeans and t-shirts, were given a set amount of time to do as many tricks as they liked and were scored based on the difficulty of the tricks and their completion of them. With music pumping, skaters performed tricks like rock to fakie, nose stall, drop in, and blunt.
All total, winners in the competitions took home $2,500 worth of prizes.
At the Cape Fear Farmer’s Market, vendors and live music provided at outlet for everyone else. A range of local talent entertained folks throughout the day, culminating in a concert by Bladen County’s Blackwater Rhythm & Blues late in the afternoon.
“Have you seen these guys?” questioned Dora Brocker. “If you haven’t, you should stay and listen. They’re really good.”
The group of nine performed favorites like Heart of Rock and Roll, Carolina Girls, Local Girls, Under the Boardwalk, and Stand By Me while guests lounged around in the 65-degree weather or kicked up their heels on the dance floor.
Lula Roe clothing, Michael Kors purses, handmade crafts, jewelry, woodworking, and Christmas decorations were just some of the items offered by the vendors who had set up shop, along with businesses, civic groups, and locally grown produce.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better day,” said Elizabethtown resident Latonya Grimes. “I think it’s good Elizabethtown has its own festival now, and I hope everybody will support it. I’ll definitely be back next year.”
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.