AgAmerica Team Members Take Part in Lakeland BBQ Fun, Friendly Competition, and Entertainment.
Southern BBQ is a way of life, and that tradition is carried on with the Lakeland BBQ Pigfest event. Held in late January, the event is meant to be a relaxing and fun event, raise money for charitable organizations, bring world-class BBQ to the area and celebrate Lakeland BBQ. Read how this BBQ competition in AgAmerica’s backyard offers the best of Southern traditions.
History of Southern BBQ and the Pigfest
While the exact origins of barbecue in the Southeast are lost to time, it is a fact that BBQ has been a staple south of the Mason-Dixon line since the Civil War. The similarities between today’s BBQs and those held a hundred years ago are many. Pork features prominently as the meat of choice, and like the Lakeland BBQ Pigfest, BBQs are a time for communities to come together and celebrate. BBQs were popular events for churches to hold for a congregation or for politicians to host to get out among the public. BBQs were events that could bring people from all walks of life together, truly bonding communities as one.
The idea for the Lakeland BBQ Pigfest started in 1994 when a group of Lakeland businessmen attended a BBQ competition while vacationing in North Carolina, but it wasn’t until 1997 that the first barbeque championship event was held in Lakeland. Pigfest has been getting bigger and better ever since. The Lakeland BBQ event used to be held in March or April, but in 2000 the date was moved to the last week of January. In its capacity as a fundraiser, the event has raised and given over $1 million dollars to the local community since its inception.
The 2017 Lakeland BBQ Pigfest
This year’s Lakeland BBQ Pigfest was held the weekend of January 27th and the 28th. There were three main categories for participating in the contest portion of the Pigfest:
- A Kingsford Professional BBQ Competition sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS). Professional BBQ teams from all over the country traveled to Lakeland, Florida, to compete for the prize money and to get some sun and fun. There were four main categories of this portion: ribs, chicken, pork and brisket. This year’s event included over 60 professional barbecue teams.
- The Publix Super Markets Backyard Competition. Local teams competed for the glory of winning and bragging rights until next year. AgAmerica’s own Mac Miller and Colin Clyne participated in this portion of the event, alongside over 50 local teams serving up the best Lakeland barbeque.
- The Badcock Kids-Q Competition. Kids cooked BBQ in a competition with rules following those laid down by the KCBS. Started in 2003, this portion of the competition encourages the next generation to appreciate the art of BBQ.
The event also featured live entertainment and booths selling fare like fried alligator tail, strawberry shortcake, drinks, and merchandise. Charities that benefit from the Lakeland BBQ Pigfest event include Alliance for Independence, Sun n Fun Youth Education, the Learning Resource Center, Girls Inc., Exploration’s V, Camp Fire Sunshine, and the Boys and Girls Club.
AgAmerica Lending is proud to be a part of such a wonderful event that has roots in Southern BBQ and has grown to fruition in our hometown of Lakeland, Florida.