Get your taste buds ready for the City of Newberry’s 13th annual Pork in the Park! The event will take place next weekend on Friday, April 12 from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. and Saturday, April 13 from 11 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.

New to the event this year is a Friday night “Barbecue and Bluegrass” portion to allow vendors to sell their product for an additional day. Live music will be downtown during this time from Bluegrass Remedy until 8 p.m.

Mary Alex Kopp, tourism and events manager for the city said in years past, cookers setting up on Friday afternoon already had some of their product ready to sell prior to cooking overnight before Saturday’s competition.

“Last year the majority said they’d like to participate in a Friday night event, so we made it happen this year,” she said.

There will be no alcohol sales during this time, Kopp said.

A total of 18 teams will be downtown for Saturday’s competition and they range from newcomers to the festival to long-time participants, Kopp said.

The three categories during this year’s event include Boston butt, chicken and ribs. Sanctioned by the Southern Barbecue Network, the judges for the event are primarily looking for appearance, taste, aroma, tenderness and texture.

The judges, Kopp said have been certified through a training process and attend many events similar to Pork in the Park. Scoring ranges from a low of one to a high of 10 points, with increments of .1 points for each category.

Judging will take place at the Firehouse Conference Center, with double blind judging. Awards will be given out between 3:15-3:30 p.m. with first, second and third place for each category as well as the grand champion. 

With the donation of meat from Hillside Sausage Company in Newberry, the sample cups are back again at this year’s competition, meaning the Taster’s Choice category has also returned to the competition.

Sample tickets can be purchased Saturday morning beginning at 11 a.m. and allows a two-ounce sample cup of barbecue from each of the 18 vendors, while supplies last. Voting for the Taster’s Choice category will be cut off at 2 p.m., Kopp said.

All funds raised from sample ticket sales will go back into Newberry County for Relay for Life.

“Hillside has donated all of the meat for the samples and our competitors have donated their time and energy into cooking the extra meat so we really want to thank them for that kind service they’re doing for the community,” she said.

In addition to sample sales, patrons are invited to purchase the different types of items being sold by vendors. Cash is recommended as not all vendors will accept cards.

Cookers in the competition will begin arriving to downtown Newberry around 2 p.m. that Friday. Kopp said downtown residents and visitors should expect the area to be smoky and smell of delicious barbecue.

Main Street from Caldwell to Nance Streets and Boyce Street from Caldwell to McKibben Streets will be closed beginning at 1 p.m. on Friday, April 12. Those shopping and dining downtown on Friday are encouraged to use parking lots close by, Kopp said.

Saturday morning’s road closures will be extended between Caldwell and College streets on Main Street. Roads will remain closed until Saturday evening at approximately 5 p.m.

Free inflatables and fun activities for children during Pork in the Park can be found on Main Street between Caldwell and College Streets. An interactive map with all activities can be found by visiting the event’s website, www.porkinthepark.com and clicking on the interactive map under the ‘About Us’ section.

In addition to the smell of barbecue filling the streets of Newberry, there will also be live music in Memorial Park Saturday to include Backline, a bluegrass group out of Spartanburg. Kopp said they were chosen this year as they were not the typical bluegrass band and were a younger group with a female lead.

“That’s not as common and we’re excited to have them down for the event,” she said.

While there will be tables and chairs set up in Memorial Park, visitors are encouraged to bring their own chairs to set up and listen to music.

The Newberry County Chamber of Commerce will be selling beer in Memorial Park throughout the event. Kopp said there would be an ID station and patrons should plan to have their ID with them if they planned to purchase alcohol.

Competitors for this year’s Pork in the Park are:

  • Biggy Boys BBQ
  • TKO BBQ
  • Smell My Smoke BBQ
  • Two-5 Smokehouse
  • Doko Smoke
  • McKenna Creek BBQ
  • Crossroads BBQ
  • Steelhorse Smokehouse
  • Butts and Thighs BBQ (Competition Only)
  • Chicka-Piga-Moo (Competition Only)
  • Smokin Coals BBQ (Competition Only)
  • Hey Good Buddy (Competition Only)
  • Backdraft BBQ (Competition Only)
  • The Drunk Chicken (Competition Only)
  • Smoky D’s BBQ (Competition Only)
  • Boars Nest BBQ (Competition Only)
  • Gettin’ Piggy With It (Competition Only)
  • Vicious Pig BBQ (Competition Only)

“Overall I think we have a good group of competitors this year,” Kopp said.

Volunteers are still needed for the event and those interested in helping can contact Kopp at 803-321-1015 prior to the event.

More information on Pork in the Park can be located online at www.newberryporkinthepark.com.