Come rain or shine, Lincolnton will soon be host to bikers and barbecue as Lincolnton’s Hog Happenin’ gets under way tonight.
The annual event kicks off in downtown this evening, with as many as 10,000 people expected to attend this year.
Though precipitation is in the forecast, Lincolnton Business and Community Development Director Brad Guth said the festivities will go on.
Organized by the city of Lincolnton and the Downtown Development Association, with volunteer support from members of the Christian Motorcycle Association, Freedom Biker Church and Carolina Faith Riders, the event is a regional bike fest and barbecue cook-off that has attracted visitors from the Charlotte region and across the Southeast in past years.
According to the Hog Happenin’ website, the Lincolnton event was the first in the state to “combine the animal with the mechanical.” However, in addition to attracting hogs of both the edible and ridable variety, the event also provides a chance to give back.
Over the 12 years Hog Happenin’ has been taking place, Guth said the event has raised more than $40,000 for various local charities.
Likewise, the band Charity Case, featuring radio personality Ace from “The Ace & TJ Show,” will donate all proceeds to the show’s Grin Kids charity. The band, which Guth said is “always a big draw,” is set to perform tonight.
In addition to the scheduled events, games and entertainment, various vendors will be set up selling motorcycle products and parts, T-shirts and other items throughout the festivities.
“We have a good track record of vendors renewing and coming back,” Guth noted.
Though Guth said this year’s event will be fairly similar to last year’s, there are a few changes in store. For instance, the main stage and beer garden will be located on the 300 block of West Main Street, a move he noted was made to help law enforcement patrolling the area.
There will also be two new competitions this year, including the Reser’s America’s Best Potato Salad Challenge and The Kingsford $40K Challenge, with top finishers receiving prizes and the winners entered into the national finals. Both, like the barbecue cook-off, are part of the Kansas City Barbecue Society circuit.
Guth was also quick to stress that barbecue is not just being cooked for competition in the professional and amateur contests, but is also available for purchase.
“We sold over $15,000 of competition-quality barbecue at the event last year — that’s over $1,200 an hour in sales,” he said. “The public can purchase barbecue from vending teams in the food court, which is in the Citizens Center parking lot. We even provide a tent with tables and chairs for people to eat under.”
Hog Happenin’ festivities kick off tonight with live bands on the main stage and the “piglets’ playpen,” or kids’ zone. The cook-off also begins tonight, with the judging on Saturday.
The poker run, bike show (both of which require entry fees), bike games and performances by stunt rider Abe Morlu will take place Saturday. There will also be eating competitions at the special-events stage both days.
The event, which is free and open to the public, runs from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. tonight and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
For more information or a schedule of events, visit www.hoghappenin.org.