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Kim Decker, marketing specialist

Mike Sterling, Pig Jig coordinator

Connie Altman, Shriners Fish Fry coordinator

Charities are the winners in Masonic Pig Jig Competition
and Shriners Fish Fry at the Got to Be NC Festival

RALEIGH -- The Masonic Pig Jig Competition will celebrate its ninth year of friendly competition for a cause on Saturday at the Got to Be NC Festival at the State Fairgrounds. The event has become a big draw for pork lovers, Masons and those who want to dine for a good cause.

The Amran Shriners Fish Fry will also be raising money for charity Friday through Sunday, with proceeds from the sale of seafood plates benefitting Shriners hospitals and charities.

Since its start, the Pig Jig has raised more than $50,000 for the Masonic Home for Children and the Central Children’s Home, both in Oxford, said event organizer Mike Sterling.

“Just about every year it has sold out or mostly sold out,” Sterling said, estimating that the event served about 4,000 people in 2012. “We had 30 whole hogs, 1,750 pounds of Boston butt pork and 250 whole chickens. These grills are full.”

That money has helped the Masonic Home for Children continue its work, said Chris Richardson, director of financial development and an assistant administrator.

“Fundraising is challenging. There are more charities than ever and a lot of deserving and good programs out there,” Richardson said. “It takes about $3.5 million to operate the home annually, and we operate with limited federal or state funding. The money raised helps provide for every need that you and I would want to provide for for our own kids, every day.”

Angela Williams, executive director of the Central Children’s Home, echoed Richardson’s appreciation, noting past money has helped with educational expenses for the children, computers and operational items. “This is a tremendous benefit to us to further our mission to help kids in our care,” she said. “We would miss this money from our budget.”

Leaving hungry at the Pig Jig is not very likely. Teams are competing for judges’ top honors as well as a People’s Choice Award, so diners will sample their way around the cookers of the 30-plus teams expected to compete. Foodies will also find the usual array of side dishes to round out the meal. If you are unsure of your favorite ‘cue, or still not full, you can make your way around again, as it is an all-you-can-eat event, Sterling said.

“We encourage diners to really try all the different styles of barbecue and then vote for their favorite one,” Sterling said. “You’ll see Eastern and Western styles, and some will be cooked over coals, while others are cooked over gas.”

Pig Jig tickets for ages 12 and up are $15 this year to help offset higher food prices. For children 7 to 11 years of age, the cost is $5, and kids 6 and under are free.  The event will be beside the Expo Center, with entry starting at 11 a.m.

This will be the Shriners fourth year at the festival, said organizer Connie Altman. The group has raised around $6,000 and hopes to do even better this year, he said. Shriners will serve whiting and flounder plates with hush puppies, slaw and fries. They will also have hot dogs and hamburgers. The mobile kitchen will be located at the end of the row of permanent restaurant stands near the Expo Center side entrance to the midway. Whiting plates are $8 and flounder plates are $10. The fish fry opens daily at 11:30 a.m.





NCDA&CS Public Affairs Division, Brian Long, Director
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