HILLSBOROUGH – You can still get barbecue in Hillsborough, but no longer on Hogg Day.
The more than 30-year tradition of the Hillsborough Hogg Day, which has brought festival-goers from across the state to Orange County, has been cancelled.
The Hillsborough/Orange County Chamber of Commerce made the announcement of the decision Thursday.
“I know a lot of people will miss it, but ultimately the Chamber’s Hogg Day event was a Chamber fundraiser. What I understand is that they were looking at it and asking the question, ‘Is the juice worth the squeeze?’” said Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens.
Hillsborough Hogg Day, which was Orange County’s largest festival incorporating food, music and other activities, would have celebrated its 32nd anniversary this year.
“The Town didn’t have much to do in terms of the decision making about that so I learned about it pretty much the way everyone else did,” Stevens said.
The Hillsborough/Orange County Chamber of Commerce is a private, non-profit organization that does not receive funding from the government or public entities, according the group’s website.
It is entirely supported by membership dues and private fund-raising efforts.
“They had a lot of effort going into that, but it was not raising a whole lot of money and actually, maybe put them on the edge a couple of times,” Stevens said.
The Town has helped the Hillsborough Hogg Day Festival in the past by providing grants, and trash pick-up and police services, Stevens explained, but it does not have the resources to keep the event going.
“I can almost assure you that the Town is not going to step in and take over the operation [of Hogg Day]. There aren’t events that the Town really does because we don’t have the staff for that.”
Stevens said that while Hogg Day generated attention and economic activity for Hillsborough, there are other events that will help to engage the community, such as Last Fridays, the “Celebration of the Automobile” Car Show, and holiday events.
However, Stevens adds that the Hogg may live to see another day.
“My understanding is that they would be glad to entertain partnering with any organization if there is some other group that would be glad to see Hogg Day continue,” he said.
Margaret Wood Cannell, the Chamber’s Executive Director, said that Hillsborough Hogg Day took a minimum of six months to plan and execute, according to a statement on their website. Cannell said that the Chamber has a two-person staff and small band of volunteers, and that the time investment was “huge,” and that resources could instead be allocated to providing membership services and promoting economic growth.