04/10/11 — Pig in the Park

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Pig in the Park

By Gary Popp
Published in News on April 10, 2011 1:50 AM

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Goldsboro Mayor Pro Tem Chuck Allen gets a smooch from a pig named Jackson at the Pig in the Park festival at Waynesborough Historical Village on Saturday. The festival was aimed at raising money for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Wayne County and featured a pig-cooking contest, music, games and vendors. Allen was the winner of a contest involving several downtown restaurants and patrons voting at the businesses and online for the title of "Boss Hog." The kiss was Allen's prize.

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John Kearney of Haulin' Hog Catering accepts the first place trophy during an awards ceremony at the Pig in the Park event Saturday at Waynesborough.

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Hundreds of visitors to Waynesborough attended the Pig in the Park Saturday. Guests enjoyed inflatables, arts and crafts, music and, of course, a barbecue lunch.

The Kearney family of Rosewood, with their Haulin' Hog Catering team, might have taken first place at the second annual Pig in the Park on Saturday, but the real winners were the youth of Wayne County.

All of the proceeds from the barbecue competition will go to the Boys & Girls Club of Wayne County.

"Wayne County is just a giving community overall," said Mary Ann Dudley, the executive director of the Boys & Girls Club. "When you give, the payback is so much more. This kind of event helps us as a nonprofit organization to develop more partnerships and to be able to open more doors and opportunities for us to offer our kids."

Twenty-one teams participated in the event, which was held at Waynesborough Historical Village and sponsored by the club and the Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp.

As of press time, the total amount of money raised had not been tallied, but with the hundreds of plates of barbecue sold, along with the contributions made through the "Boss Hog" contest that led up to the event, it was expected to significantly boost the club's budget.

Despite gray skies and cool temperatures, an estimated 5,000 barbecue lovers poured into the park for the festivities.

Teams started cooking late Friday and labored through the night. Judging began at 8 a.m. The highlight of the day was the announcement of the winning teams and the crowning of "Boss Hog," who earned the right to kiss a pig by raising the most money for the charity. Goldsboro Mayor Pro Tem Chuck Allen took the honors, giving a porker named Jackson a big smooch in front of a roaring crowd.

The event included more than 60 vendors of all types, games for children and music.

The competition was sanctioned by the state Pork Council, and the top three teams are now eligible to participate in the state cook-off.

The 21 teams vying for bragging rights to the county's best barbecue were a mixed bunch.

"We had real experienced cook teams this year, and we had five or six that had never been in a competition. And, some that had never cooked a pig before," Mrs. Dudley said.

The teams withstood some stormy weather Friday night. Carl Fussell of the Tuscarora Council Boy Scout Team said his team had a great time, in spite of the spurts of rain.

"It rained a bit, but we are Boy Scouts, so we were prepared," Fussell joked.

The cook-off included two teams from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. One  was made up of three master sergeants, Brian Falconer, Mark Jenson and Robbie Padgett.

"We had no idea what we were getting into," Jenson said.

But they were pleased with their results and vowed to return next year.

"We are definitely doing it next year," Falconer said. "Overall, it was a great experience. They really put on a great event."

Johnny Kearney of the winning team said he has been cooking pigs for 30 years, but only for three years competitively. Barbecuing is a hobby he shares with his children, Jon Kearney and Jennifer Collins, who formed the rest of his team.

The day's winners were:

Best Barbecue

1st: Haulin' Hog Catering (Johnny Kearney, John Kearney and Jennifer Collins)

2nd: Wilder's Old Style BBQ

3rd: Oak Brook Apartments


1st: Fort Wayne Frontiersmen (Wayne Memorial Community College)

2nd: Bubba-Q

3rd: Haulin' Hog Catering