SAN BENITO — With its sizzling smells of smoked barbecue and its upbeat rhythms of Tejano and country music, a “fun, family-friendly” event is waddling its way into the weekend.
The City of San Benito is set to host its second annual Hog Waddle Country Concert and Cook-Off Saturday from 4 to 11 p.m. at the Cesar Gonzalez Parkway, located off of FM 510.
The concert series kicks off at 5 p.m. and will include performances by Drew and Dancehall Dreamers, Lauren Corzine, Bo Garza, the Powell Brothers and David Lee Garza.
In addition to a cook-off competition, the event will have food and craft vendors, games, a family carnival with rides, an animal farm and a showcase of exotic animals from the Texas Zoo in Victoria.
General admission tickets are $5 per person, VIP all-access passes cost $20 and admission for children ages 10 and younger is free.
Pre-sale tickets are available at the San Benito Cultural Heritage Museum.
Cook-Off judges needed
From desserts and beans to brisket and chicken, several chefs will be cooking up a storm this weekend and need your help in deciding who has the best tasting dish.
As of yesterday, about 60 people had volunteered to judge different categories in the cook-off.
However, there is still a need for about 35 volunteers.
“This is a really great opportunity to try some of the best of the best barbecue and sample lots of different foods,” said Cultural Heritage Museum Administrative Assistant Marie Nicole Serrano.
Volunteers are able to judge more than one category, according to Serrano.
Those who are interested in being a tasting judge can contact Serrano at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The event’s impact
According to Cultural Arts Director Luis Contreras, the event serves as a promotional effort for San Benito that helps attract more people from out of town.
Contreras said the event added value to community businesses with an increase of sales tax from 2017.
The city’s Hog Waddle event gathered about 2,000 attendees last year and had 18 participants in the cook-off, which surpassed the International Barbeque Cookers Association’s projected seven to 10 participants.
Contreras said the goal is to exceed that number this Saturday.
Where did the idea for the event come from?
Contreras said the Hog Waddle Country Concert and Cook-Off was designed to promote a “really interesting tidbit of history” in San Benito.
In the early 1900s, the City of San Benito hosted a Cabbage Day Parade.
Agriculture engineer Alba Heywood led a hog waddle in the parade down the city’s main road that comprised about 2,000 hogs.
Upon reaching the end of the parade, a celebratory gunshot into the air resulted in a scattered dash that took three days to gather the hogs.
“I think this history is what makes the event interesting because it’s exclusive to San Benito,” Contreras said. “It’s become quite an interest to a lot of people and I think that gives it a nice and interesting little hook.”
COOK-OFF JUDGES NEEDED
• Volunteers can judge more than one category and can sign up with Marie Serrano at email@example.com.
• Friday, May 17 at 8:30 p.m., needs 8 dessert judges
• Saturday, May 18 at 10 a.m., needs 3 chef’s choice judges.
• Saturday, May 18 at 11 a.m., needs seven beans judges.
• Saturday, May 18 at noon, needs six chicken finals table judges.
• Saturday, May 18 at 1:30 p.m., needs five pork spare ribs finals table judges.
• Saturday, May 18 at 3 p.m. needs seven pork shoulder/butt finals table judges.
IF YOU GO
WHAT — Hog Waddle Country Concert and Cook-Off
WHEN — Saturday, May 18, from 4 to 11 p.m.
WHERE — San Benito Fairgrounds, 551 Cesar Gonzalez Parkway
LINEUP — Drew and Dancehall Dreamers at 5 p.m., Lauren Corzine at 6 p.m., Bo Garza at 7:10 p.m., the Powell Brothers at 8:30 p.m. David Lee Garza at 10 p.m.
COST — $20 VIP All Access Passes, $5 General Admission, free for children 10 or younger
For tickets, contact the San Benito Cultural Heritage Museum at (956) 281-0810.