Last weekend, Tiger Town Stadium was host to the event barbeque fanatics wait for all year: Pigfest.
Pigfest began in 1997, when interest sparked in a barbeque competition in Lakeland. The festival is free to attend, but it does cost money, which turns into “pig bucks,” to eat the barbeque. The money made goes to local charities such as the Junior Greater League of Lakeland and Girls Inc.
The festival consists of three different competitions. The Kingsford Profession BBQ Competition is for professional barbeque teams that come from all over the United States. There are four different categories of barbeque: ribs, chicken, pork and brisket.
According to the Pigfest website, over 200 teams have competed from 17 different states, most of them returning year after year. The Kansas City Barbeque Society sanctions this competition, which was the original inspiration for Pigfest.
The Publix Supermarkets Backyard Competition competes in the same four categories as the Kingsford Profession BBQ Competition. However, this competition is strictly made up of local contenders that simply compete for ribbons and trophies.
A fun fact about this competition is some of the participants go to a judging school that strictly specializes in judging barbeque competitions. They go to learn about what the judges are looking for in taste, tenderness, texture and presentation. When they feel they’re ready, they compete in Pigfest.
The third competition is strictly for the younger barbequers. The Badcock Kids-Q Competition is designated for kids who cook in their own designated area on their own grills. This competition is designed so that many years from now, these kids can carry on one of America’s favorite pastimes.
Aside from the great barbeque, fried items including infamous fried pickles and Oreos and drinks, Pigfest is host to some local entertainment. Different bands come throughout the weekend to preform a variety of music.
Pigfest never ceases to disappoint anyone. Each year since 1997, they have brought in more forms of barbeque than anyone could possibly imagine. For as long as people will be cooking some of the greatest barbeque, Pigfest will continue to deliver more of the American tradition of cooking for years to come.