Being from the “fertile crescent” of the triangle/triad area, I’m not alone with fellow residents in considering Charlotte a bit remote. Of course, we knew that it was the state’s largest city, and that it seemed to get it when it came to making banks, staging car races, and attracting professional sports, but we really thought we were where the water ran truer and bluer.
Having visited Charlotte a few times recently, I’m discovering that folks there couldn’t care less about what we thought, and have been having a pretty fine time regardless. Within about a five block main drag that can make you think for a minute that you are in the heart of Manhattan, Charlotte can put on one whopping street fair. The rest of us could take a few lessons.
So, back in September, I found myself wandering the biggest assembly of barbecue enthusiasts imaginable. The annual Barbecue and Blues Festival (90% barbecue/10% blues) brought hundreds of smoky black iron cooking contraptions to park in the shade of art museums and glistening bank towers. But, it was hard to tell who was looking down on who at this bubba convention come to town.
There was a bit of self-satire going on, but there was also a sense of reverence and complete seriousness for the ‘cue life, as seen by the respect these artisans showed for judges who tasted their offerings. Many vendors had entered the contest, and some sported trophies from past victories. And, in current fashion, there was a tent for the rest of us to taste and vote.
The novelty comic relief of the affair, an almost wicked tug-at-the-heart, was the piglet races. Yes, you read right, three-month-old piglets (they are intelligent you know) trained to race around a track. The racing impresario had named them with such monikers as Spareribs and Lohams (first names I won’t mention were Britney and Lindsay.) These future ‘cue cuties did exactly as predicted. They raced around the track.
Would that the aromas inhaled walking down Tryon Street could be bottled and sold as perfume. Such might be a more enticing date aphrodisiac for the average guy. And, did I say the food was good? I can’t overemphasize this; it was outstanding.