When Sunrise Rotary Club member Graham Wilson began planning for the Peak City Pig Fest more than 18 months ago, he kept a few main objectives in mind.
Wilson wanted an event that would showcase all the positive attributes of downtown Apex while generating some awareness for local Rotary clubs and the Western Wake Crisis Ministry.
On top of all of that, Wilson also wanted to organize a festival that was fun for families and unique to the area.
Hours after the scores of cooking gear had been packed up and the delectable aromas of barbecue had wafted away, it seemed pretty clear that all those goals had been greatly surpassed.
An estimated crowd of 11,000 people journeyed to downtown Apex over the weekend to check out the inaugural Peak City Pig Fest.
More than 30 teams from around the country competed in the event, which was sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, the nation’s leading barbecue sanctioning organization.
Bands, games, pig races and an assortment of vendors kept the thousands of downtown visitors busy throughout the festival.
“We were really pleased with how things turned out,” said Wilson. “For a first time event, it went pretty smoothly. We learned some things and we will make some tweaks for next year. We are all very aware that we need more food vendors. The lines were way too long. But we really had no idea how many people would show up.”
While public feedback was good, the feedback from cook teams was even better.
“I’ve received email after email telling me this was one of the best competitions they ever saw,” said Wilson. “The cook teams were so impressed with the area the town set up for them. I think the town really went above and beyond for us. From (town manager) Bruce Radford to the police, fire and water and electric people, they all bent over backwards to help. They are the ones that really helped make this a success.”
Although it was Sunrise Rotary that organized the event, volunteers from several area Rotary clubs worked at the festival throughout the weekend. Many other non-Rotarians also donated their time.
“We couldn’t have done any of this without all the volunteers,” said Wilson. “Although we had the help of many Rotary members we also had non-members helping, too. That was really important because this was a town event and we want residents getting involved.”
Wilson said he hoped the festival gave visitors a good impression of Apex.
“Downtown Apex is a great place and it has a great reputation,” said Wilson. “We just wanted to add to the list of wonderful events held here such as the Christmas parade, Peak Fest and July 4 celebration. We want to help establish Apex as a place to go for downtown family events and want people to see all the good things we have here.”