Big Pork Sales Lead to NC Pork Council's Donation to Bluegrass Organization

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Ann Edmondson of N.C. Pork Council, William Lewis of PineCone: Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, & IBMA Board; Deborah Johnson of N.C. Pork Council, Cindy Baucom (Vice-Chairperson) of IBMA Board, Elizabeth Wightman (Treasurer) of IBMA Board, Nancy Cardwell of IBMA and Jon Weisberger (Chairperson) of IBMA BoardIn the wake of September's highly successful N.C. Whole Hog Barbecue State Championship, the state's pork industry association will contribute $10,000 to the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA).

The state championship cook-off was held in downtown Raleigh in conjunction with the IBMA's Wide Open Bluegrass Festival. The bluegrass music event, held in Raleigh for the first time, drew an estimated 84,000 visitors to Raleigh's center city and may have pumped as much as $10 million into cash registers around the Triangle.

Included in the crowds were the thousands who witnessed the state's best hog cooking teams compete for the state title and awaited the chance on the afternoon of Sept. 28 to sample the results. More than 4,000 servings of chopped pork barbecue were sold.

In a presentation attended by Raleigh city officials, the N.C. Pork Council (NCPC) announced the gift of $10,000 to the IBMA. The NCPC sponsors and sanctions the state championship cook-off and is headquartered in Raleigh, where it supports the state's pork-producing industry.

Deborah Johnson, chief executive officer of the NCPC, said, "We were very pleased that our state championship added to the excitement and success of the IBMA's bluegrass festival. The donation helps preserve the bluegrass tradition and is an investment we are proud to make."

Johnson added, "Our donation to the IBMA was offered in the spirit of thanks and a reward for the group's decision to bring its annual meeting and celebration to North Carolina, home of the nation's best pork barbecue."

Nancy Cardwell, executive director of IBMA, participated in the presentation announcement. She said, "Our experience in Raleigh was spectacular and we are grateful to all the organizations and individuals who supported us so well. The pork barbecue cooking championship was a valuable addition, and the generous donation from the state's pork industry will be put to good use by our organization."

The IBMA is a non-profit organization that connects and educates bluegrass professionals, empowers the bluegrass community and encourages worldwide appreciation of bluegrass music. The group consists of 2,700 members from 50 states and 30 countries and works in a variety of ways to promote the bluegrass genre.

Ann Edmondson, director of communications & marketing for the NCPC, said, "Being part of the IBMA's first festival in Raleigh gave the pork industry a big role in a great weekend. We had excellent teams cooking their hogs and the fabulous music was a fine complement to the barbecue."

The Wide Open Bluegrass Festival brought more than 60 of the nation's leading bluegrass acts to perform in downtown Raleigh at the Convention Center, Red Hat Amphitheater, Duke Energy Center for Performing Arts and on various stages scattered throughout downtown. By all accounts, the event was a huge success; the IBMA has announced its plans to return to Raleigh in 2014 and 2015.

About the N.C. Pork Council (www.ncpork.org)

The North Carolina Pork Council (NCPC) is the statewide organization chartered in 1962 to support producers and allied industry partners within the North Carolina pork industry. Today, the pork industry in the state includes more than 2,300 farms, about 46,000 full-time jobs and adds $9 billion to North Carolina's economy.

About IBMA's World of Bluegrass Week (www.ibma.org)

World of Bluegrass Week in Raleigh was the annual homecoming for the bluegrass music community and took place September 24-28, 2013. It featured three separate events: the Business Conference, the International Bluegrass Music Awards and the Wide Open Bluegrass Festival, which hosted the best in bluegrass music.

Photo Credits:

Ann Edmondson of N.C. Pork Council; William Lewis of PineCone: Piedmont Council of Traditional Music & IBMA Board; Deborah Johnson of N.C. Pork Council; Cindy Baucom (Vice-Chairperson) of IBMA Board; Elizabeth Wightman (Treasurer) of IBMA Board; Nancy Cardwell of IBMA; and Jon Weisberger (Chairperson) of IBMA Board.