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Drifters to headline Ham & Yam Fest entertainment

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SMITHFIELD — The Original Drifters will headline the 35th annual Ham & Yam Festival with a free concert scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday, May 4.

With roots in doo wop, soul, and R&B, The Drifters launched their career more than 50 years ago.

The current lineup, assembled by Bill Pinkney, an original member of The Drifters, includes bandmates Chuck Cockerham and Richard Knight Dunbar, as well as Russell Henry and Roger Whitehead. Among their most popular hits are “This Magic Moment,” “Save the Last Dance for Me,” “Up on the Roof,” “On Broadway,” and “Under the Boardwalk.”

“We are excited to bring The Original Drifters to Smithfield for the Ham & Yam Festival,” said Sarah Edwards, festival organizer and Downtown Smithfield Development Corp. executive director. “With their talent and multi-generational appeal, we’re looking forward to a great show that will have the audience up dancing and singing along,”

In addition to The Original Drifters, there will be entertainment on the festival’s three stages throughout the day.

“We are fortunate to have a large number of very talented up-and-coming musicians and entertainers here in Johnston County and North Carolina, and are pleased to be able to shine a spotlight on them at the festival,” said Edwards.

A full schedule of events May 4 will attract thousands of people to downtown Smithfield, where the festival occupies several blocks. Craft and commercial vendors line the streets, food vendors offer a variety of fair foods and menu items featuring country ham and sweet potatoes, and additional entertainment comes in the form of pig races, children’s activities and more.

The Ham & Yam Festival is organized by the nonprofit Downtown Smithfield Development Corp. To learn more, visit