THE ADVENTURES OF HIM AND HER
Ham and Yam Festival
Dates: May 1-2, 2010
Next Year Dates: The first weekend in May
Location: Smithfield, North Carolina
Population: 12,965 (2008)
Town Area: 11.4 sq miles (all land)
Features: Pig Cook-off, petting zoo, pony rides, farm animal races, car show, live music
The Ham and Yam Festival is a two day celebration in Smithfield, North Carolina, “celebrating two delicious products of our region’s rich agricultural heritage”. I don’t get too excited about yams but anyone who knows me understands my unyielding love for pork products. In addition to being the town Ava Gardner grew up in, Smithfield is also the site of a Confederate defeat during the civil war on April 10, 1965.
In some ways this festival was much like the Mt. Olive Picklefest (but we felt the Picklefest was much better) that we attended the previous weekend, we even saw the same little piggies, ducks and goats racing, a car show and vendors selling art and food. Although it was hot enough outside to make us feel like we were inside a slow cooker, we were a little disappointed to find only one stand selling ham or yams. We would have even liked to see some local food vendors selling their hometown hits rather than the few generic food stands selling the predictable fare. In fairness, on Saturday they did hold a pork cook-off that we were unable to make it to. The BBQ plate we had was very good and even better doused with the vinegar sauce they supplied.
In addition to the classic car show, there was also a boom’in bass car show. It was unexpected and like a scene from “Pimp My Ride”. There were proud owners standing by cars putting out teeth shattering bass. There was even a DJ with three bikini clad girls on a small stage moving awkwardly off beat to “Stanky Leg”. We thought the animal petting area was interesting and gave people a chance to get up close to a llama (don’t see too many of these guys grazing the pastures of North Carolina) and farm animals, but the trick was to not stand downwind.
Overall the Ham and Yam was not the best festival we’ve been to. Even when festivals aren’t all that entertaining it’s still nice to get out and walk around for a few hours but it is not worth it on a steaming hot day or a long drive. If we go next year it would be on the day of the Pig Cook-off to see if that adds a little life to the event.