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North Carolina BBQ Championship Set for World of Bluegrass

World of Bluegrass 2013Raleigh, NC -- Bluegrass music fans coming to Raleigh for the International Bluegrass Music Association’s annual World of Bluegrass week in September will also have a chance to chow down at the N.C. Whole Hog Barbecue State Championship in the capital city’s downtown.

The North Carolina Pork Council, the sanctioning body for the annual N.C. Whole Hog Series of cooking contests held around the state leading to the championship event, announced the link with the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) event. This partnership links the cook-off with a monster bluegrass festival that is expected to draw tens of thousands to downtown Raleigh.

“We are proud to be holding the state barbecue championship in the capital city,” said Deborah Johnson, the Pork Council’s chief executive officer. She added, “Having the title cook-off in conjunction with the international bluegrass festival really makes for a very special occasion.”

The IBMA will host its annual conference, awards show and festival September 24-28, the 27th and 28th dedicated to the Wide Open Blue Grass festival. The two days of music will basically turn downtown Raleigh’s Event Campus (the Raleigh Convention Center, Red Hat Amphitheater and the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts) into the world’s epicenter of bluegrass music. More than 60 of the nation’s greatest bluegrass bands are expected to perform.

Nancy Cardwell, executive director of IBMA, commented, “There is a natural connection between bluegrass music and open-air barbecue cooking. We are delighted to be coming to Raleigh and to have the state’s barbecue championship paired with our music.”

Johnson noted, “Our goal in linking our championship to the IBMA event is to provide an unforgettable authentic North Carolina culinary experience to festival guests. Thousands of people from all over the nation and beyond will experience and celebrate the tastes, smells, sights and heritage of barbecue competition, while enjoying the sounds of big-league bluegrass music."

Johnson also announced that the Pork Council will make a contribution of up to $10,000 in barbecue sales income to IBMA.

The annual cooking championship is the culmination of the state qualifying series that includes 15 to 20 local barbecue competitions conducted as part of community events in Tar Heel cities and towns from April into September.

Over the six-month stretch, the series typically attracts more than 100,000 North Carolinians, including scores of cooking teams seeking to qualify for the championship events. Around 30 teams typically qualify for the final competition, based on a set of criteria used by the Pork Council.

At the Raleigh final event, as is the case in all the events throughout the season, the cooked barbecue is collected after judging, chopped and sold in plates to the general public.

Spectators will be able to watch the entire aromatic cooking process in the parking area between the Raleigh Convention Center and the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. The Pork Council expects to sell plates of authentic North Carolina pork barbecue to around 4,000 bluegrass fans. It will be first-come, first- served in the outdoor, downtown setting.

The North Carolina Pork Council (NCPC) is the statewide organization chartered in 1962 to support producers and allied industry partners within the North Carolina pork industry. Today, the pork industry in the state includes more than 2,300 farms, about 46,000 full-time jobs and adds $9 billion to North Carolina’s economy.

World of Bluegrass Week (WorldOfBluegrass.org) is the annual homecoming for the bluegrass music community, taking place September 24-28, 2013 in Raleigh, North Carolina. World of Bluegrass features three separate events: the Business Conference (Sept. 24-26) that focuses on development and networking for bluegrass professionals, the International Bluegrass Music Awards (Sept. 26) and the Wide Open Bluegrass Festival (Sept. 27-28) which will host the best in bluegrass music as well as multiple workshops, jam sessions and activities.

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