After three long years, this beloved community event that features tasty ham and yam foods, entertainment on three stages, a variety of vendors, kids’ activities, and fun for the entire family will make its return. The Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation will host that the 36th-ish* annual Ham & Yam Festival presented by Stevens Sausage and Agri Supply will be held on Saturday, May 7.
“We are excited to bring the Ham & Yam Festival back this year! It’s a beloved Smithfield tradition, and we have heard how much people have missed it,” stated Sarah Edwards, festival organizer and Executive Director of the Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation. “Festivalgoers’ first Ham & Yam memories are often of things like having fun in the children’s area, enjoying a country ham biscuit, getting their faces painted, entering their artistic sweet potato creations in the What’s That Yam Thing? contest, or performing as part of a school group on one of the stages.”
In addition to the Ham & Yam traditions, the committee has added some new components to the festival. New this year is the “Best of Ham & Yam” contest, which will recognize one food vendor or Downtown Smithfield restaurant for having the best ham and yam food after a popular vote and a judges’ vote. Information about the entrants and their offerings will be available soon on the festival website: www.hamandyam.com.
The festival will be headlined by performances from Paige King Johnson at 2:30pm and The Original Rhondels at 4:30pm on the Got to Be NC Stage at the Agri Supply – Stevens Sausage Pavilion on Front Street. Country music singer-songwriter Paige King Johnson is a newcomer to the country charts, where she had a Top 30 single with “Water Down the Whiskey.” The 23-year-old is a three-time Carolina Music Awards winner, and has opened for James Otto, Neal McCoy, and Scotty McCreery; she is also the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Musical Ambassador for their “Got to Be NC” campaign.
The Original Rhondels are a beach music tradition that has been entertaining since 1969. With three Top 10 hits in “May I,” “I’ve Been Hurt,” and “What Kind of Fool Do You Think I Am,” the band delights audiences that sing and dance along to some of the best party and dance songs from the past fifty years. To learn more about the Ham & Yam Festival, including sponsorship and vendor opportunities, please visit www.hamandyam.com, or call Sarah Edwards at 919-934-0887.