Annual Barbecue Festival in Lexington is just days away

LEXINGTON, N.C. – The annual Barbecue Festival in Lexington is just days away and the pits are smoking with pork shoulders ready to cut, slice and chop.

The festival has been a part of 71-year-old Lexington native Steve Owens’ life for a long time.

"I had local band called ‘A Tricks of the Trade’ and we played up here the first few years of the Barbecue Festival and had a ball,” said Owens.

He shared photos of the band on the stage during the fall of 1987 with FOX8.

The festival has grown tremendously since then, with more than 100,000 people expected to attend this year.

“We were like, ‘omg they do a festival just for pigs…they’re are pigs everywhere,’” said Adrienne, looking at the sand sculpture in Uptown Lexington Thursday afternoon.

Gilbert and Adrienne are a couple from Florida who moved here three years ago. They were blown away by the event.

Down the street, at the Barbecue Center, the aroma is the secret to the festival. Pounds of pork should smoke for 8-10 hours days before the festival.

“They cook about 8 to 10 hours slowly over the hot coils, and they will drain for those two hours and we will cook them to about 165 in the middle and they’re ready to serve,” said Cecil Conrad, one of the owners of the Barbecue Center of Lexington.

The festival will have several music artists, food and arts and crafts for people to enjoy.

Thursday night the festival kicked off with the third annual Que Up! Brew Up! event at the amphitheater.