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More than 20,000 attend Ham & Yam Festival

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SMITHFIELD — Although the weather may have been a little too warm for some visitors, most attendees said the 35th annual Ham & Yam Festival on Saturday was a complete success.

Downtown Smithfield Development Corp. Executive Director Sarah Edwards said she was pleased with the turnout and most people seemed to be having a good time shopping

“Everything went really well, said Edwards. “The weather was very cooperative.”

Crowds were steady throughout the day and while no official attendance figures were available, crowd estimates by festival officials ranged from 20,000 to 30,000.

The pig race and duck race arena was among the most popular destinations on the grounds. The food vendors were extremely busy as well.

Winners of the barbecue cook-off competition sponsored by Johnston County 4-H in the on-site culinary category are Billy Narron, first place, Roy Parker, second place, and D.J. Stox, third place. In the blind taste test, Donald Sauls took first place, Parker earned second-place honors and Trent Howell finished third. In the showmanship category, Richie Fulghum won first-place honors, Sauls took second place and Larry Snead received third place.

The event culminated with a Saturday afternoon concert by The Original Drifters.

There were a few instances of visitors being overcome by heat, but no serious injuries were reported.

“I love small-town festivals like this,” said Johnston County Board of Commissioners Chairman Ted Godwin. “I hear people everywhere I go talking about what a good event this is.”