Mayor Tom Stevens Reacts To The End Of Hogg Day

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, theCelebration 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.

Hillsborough Gears Up For Good Times At Hogg Day

CHAPEL HILL – More than 12,000 people are expected to gather for 31st Annual Hillsborough Hogg Day coming up this weekend—WCHL’s Ron Stutts will emcee part of the day Saturday. And there are some new surprises in store this year.

The festival is happening Friday from 6  – 10 p.m., and Saturday  from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., at the River Park at 140 E. Margaret Lane behind the Courthouse in downtown Hillsborough.  Admission is free.

‘There are good days when you go to Hillsborough just to walk around and experience a town—but then there are those days when it’s great to visit Hillsborough and Hog Day is one of those days,” said Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens.

Margaret Cannell is the Executive Director of the Hillsborough/Orange County Chamber of Commerce. She says Hogg Day’s impact of the Town is more than just a good time— it’s Orange County’s largest festival of the year.

“They can see how beautiful Hillsborough is and then they will continue to come back,” Cannell said. “They’ll spend some money and maybe even think about moving here and moving their businesses here. Hogg Day improves our local economy.”

It’s also the Hillsborough Chamber of Commerce’s biggest fundraiser

“It’s going to be a great event with lots of fun family activities and we are really excited about it. It brings in people not only who live here all the time but it also brings people from other locations our beautiful town,” Cannell said.

But this year—there are some changes.

Hog Heaven Barbecue out of Durham is providing the spotlighted dish.

“We’ve had a problem before with BBQ running-out. The earliest we’ve run out is around 2 p.m. on Saturday and we saw a lot of disappointed people. But this year, we will not run out! The person who is provided it is a professional BBQ-maker and he will have plenty cooked-up and ready to go,” she said.

Cannell says there will be twice the number of food vendors.

Food trucks are another new feature this year—including Baguettaboutit, Tar Heel Creamery, and Caps of Pizza to name a few. They’ll be out both days.

The way you buy the food is different—you’ll purchase tickets or Hogg Dollars, costing either $1 or $5 dollars. The Hogg Dollars will be redeemable at all food vendor booths throughout the event. No cash will be accepted.

There’s also one more thing.

“There was a name change in that we added an extra G to Hogg. The festival has, for 30 years, celebrated BBQ and it will still celebrate BBQ but it will also be a salute to the Town of Hillsborough’s Colonial Heritage,” Cannell said.

The extra G is a salute to James Hogg— a merchant who left his native Scotland in 1774, moved to North Carolina, and became a partner in the Transylvania Company, a Trustee of the University of North Carolina and a leader in patriot activity.

You can also check-out the musical performers, the car show and the cook-off. And for festival goers over 21—there’s a beer garden, so bring your blanket or chair and kick back.

For more information on all the festivities happening at Hillsborough Hogg Day, click here.


Directions and Parking Information:

– To get to Hillsborough Hogg Day, from I-85 take exit 164 or from I-40 take exit 261.

– Parking is limited in downtown Hillsborough but there is parking available for free in the Eno River Parking Deck behind the Weaver Street Market off Churton Street.

– Designated handicap parking is available.