The Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation (DSDC) is pleased to announce the dates and preliminary details for the 38th Annual Ham & Yam Festival presented by co-sponsors Stevens Sausage and Agri Supply on Saturday, May 4th, 10am-7pm in Downtown Smithfield, NC.

“This beloved community event that features tasty ham and yam foods (we really mean sweetpotatoes), entertainment, a variety of new artisan vendors, kids’ activities, and fun for the entire family will be centered around the newly renovated Neuse River Amphitheater and for the first time will offer local Johnston County breweries on Front and Third Streets”, stated John Bilott, Festival Organizer and Promotions Chair for DSDC.

Ham & Yam Festival food vendors in Smithfield, NC.

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 sweetpotato creations in the What’s That Yam Thing? contest, or performing as part of a school group on one of the stages. All the traditions of the Ham & Yam Festival will remain and the festival planning committee is excited to add to the fun. This year the popular What’s That Yam Thing? contest will be sponsored by WRAL with a special guest on-site to judge the entries!

The festival will be headlined by performances from Tuesday’s Gone, a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band on the Neuse River Amphitheater Stage from 5:30pm to 7:00pm. Entertainment at the Amphitheater and the Third Street stage will start at 10:30am with a variety of bands including Mickey Mills, a reggae band at 1:00pm, and additional bands playing bluegrass, as well as the Smithfield Selma High School Jazz Band and the Johnston County Chorale.

Neuse River Amphitheater with Crowd at 4th of July event.

As the promotions committee continues to announce details of the festival there will be some familiar staples and some new changes for the event. Visitors to Downtown Smithfield will enjoy more ham & sweetpotato foods, as well as BBQ sandwiches for sale by the Smithfield Fire Department. Look for interesting new international flavors like ham & cheese or sweetpotato & lentil empanadas, unique ice cream and Italian ices, and the always very popular sweetpotato pie. Ham biscuits from the Kiwanis Club will be available with an expanded booth space to handle the demand.

“Stay tuned for updates on our social media channels as there will be more exciting announcements. We are planning this year's event to be the biggest and best yet,” stated Bilott.

Information about being a vendor or sponsor of this year’s festival is available on the website:; or call John Bilott at (984) 222-9692. The Ham & Yam Festival is organized by the nonprofit Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation, which is primarily funded by a Municipal Service District (MSD) and the Town of Smithfield.

Ham and Yam Festival dog with sunglasses