Hillsborough's Hog Day finds new life

Feb. 14, 2014 @ 05:33 PM

Hog Day, Hillsborough’s annual celebration of North Carolina barbecue, will happen after all.

“Please repost to let everyone know we're back in business,” states a new Hog Day Facebook page created by a group called The Hog Day Committee.  The festival will be held June 21 in downtown Hillsborough.

The Facebook page went live Wednesday. The group also has a website, hogday.org, with the message that more details will be posted soon.

In January, the Hillsborough-Orange County Chamber of Commerce announced that it would no longer present the 31-year-old celebration. The chamber board decided to focus more attention on economic development, the main mission of the organization, said Margaret Wood Cannell, executive director of the chamber.

The festival took about six months to plan and execute, and was a strain on the chamber’s two-person staff, Cannell said.

When the chamber voted to end Hog Day, Cannell said the organization would offer advice to any group that might want to take over the celebration.

Hog Day began as an Independence Day celebration but later became a May event. Last year, organizers renamed the event Hogg Day to honor James Hogg, a merchant who left Scotland in 1774, settled in Hillsborough and became active in the Revolution.

The revamped event appears to go by the old name, Hog Day.  

The centerpiece of Hog Day always has been the food. Visitors can taste many varieties of North Carolina barbecue – both the vinegar-based eastern style, and the more tomato-based western style. Pit masters and chefs compete for prizes. Last year, Hog Day offered prizes in the categories of pork barbecue, pork ribs, chicken or “anything but” (meaning anything other than pork, ribs or chicken).
Last year’s grand champion was David Foy of Winston-Salem, who also won first place in the ribs category. Michael Hill and Ed Whitehead won first place in the pork barbecue category.