The Pig’n’Pepper has long been known for its barbecue, but just who was cooking that barbecue was a slight difference in this year’s festival.
Due to a delay in vendor applications, this year saw the amount of barbecue vendors double for Sunday’s Pig’n’Pepper and its sister event a day earlier, the Blues’n’Brews.
“This is the first time we’ve ever had (that many),” said Jim Pope, vendor coordinator for the event. “They all have their own take on barbecue, and despite the increased competition, they all seemed to do alright on Saturday. We had been worried, but it all worked out.”
Ryan McConnaughey of Firebox BBQ, Bar and Catering in Bedford has been coming to the Pig’n’Pepper for several years was pleasantly surprised to find steady business, despite the differing crowds between the beer enthusiasts on Saturday and the family atmosphere in Sunday, stating it had been the largest crowd he had seen in years.
“We’ve got a good product and good variety at a cost that people can afford, that’s all you really need,” he said. “This festival has always had a good atmosphere compared to elsewhere. Many places want to charge you so much to set up that you can’t make a profit. Here, they still try to make money but respect the fact that we have to make money too.”
According to McConnaughey and Pope, when long lines appeared, the extra vendors actually helped spur business as service times went down.
The variety of differing items, such as turkey legs at some vendors and wings nearby, also helped make sure all the vendors had what appeared to be a steady amount of traffic.
“The more vendors the better,” said Kim Shaw, a non-food vendor at the festival who purchased a burrito bowl from Firebox. “Why not give everbody a part in it?”
Although the amount of vendors was unexpected, one change in the event’s barbecue was planned with the absence of the Kansas City Barbeque Society’s competitive barbecue event at the festival.
“It was a lot of work for very little return for our customers,” said Pope.
Sunday marked the fourth year for the festival after returning from a more than decade hiatus.
Disclosure: The Westford Template is a member of the Westford Rotary, which organized both the Pig’n’Pepper and Blues’n’Brews