NEWPORT — Residents and visitors will have to go one more year without a Newport Pig Cookin’ Contest, but things look promising for 2022.
Contest organizers announced on the contest website, newportpigcooking.com, the annual event has been canceled for 2021. However, it is scheduled to resume Friday and Saturday, April 1-2, 2022.
The pig cooking celebration was canceled in 2020 and this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is an annual town event, as well as the largest whole-hog cooking contest in the U.S. Money raised during the event is donated to local charities, causes and organizations.
Newport Pig Cookin’ President Jim Bristle said in a Wednesday the contest’s mission is to have a safe, healthy and fun family event.
“(The) Newport Pig Cookin’ board of directors and myself felt like this (year) wasn’t safe or healthy for any mass gatherings at this time,” he said. “People come from several different states and Canada to this event, not only cooks but spectators.”
While residents and others involved in the contest are eager to hold it, they’re willing to be patient, according to Newport Mayor Dennis Barber.
“Nobody’s complaining,” the mayor said, regarding the decision to postpone the contest another year. “We’re disappointed, but not complaining. We believe when it comes back next year, it’ll be the biggest we’ve ever had.”
Contest organizers won’t have any difficulty finding participants once the contest starts again. Mr. Bristle said cooks are “more than willing to wait until next year” and 65 cooks have already signed up for 2022.
“As soon as it’s safe to have meetings, we’ll pick up where we left off and get started with the next event,” he said. “We do know that citizens want to have the event and hope they understand that health and safety need to be the priority of our concerns.”
If circumstances work out and the Pig Cookin’ returns in 2022, Mr. Bristle is confident it will be a great event. He said he anticipates having faithful residents and more patrons than before attend.
“This is the longest running of all the (pig cooking) contests that are held in this state and anywhere else, as far as I know,” he said. “Newport Pig Cookin’ has helped get many contests off the ground and running. We’ll continue to keep safety at the forefront of our concerns for this contest. 2022 will be a great event and we look forward to being there.”
Contact Mike Shutak at 252-723-7353, email firstname.lastname@example.org; or follow on Twitter at @mikesccnt.