Ayden celebrates barbecue with cookoff and festival May 19-20

The town of Ayden, NC, legendary for its eastern North Carolina pork barbecue, will host its second annual Kings of Q Barbecue Festival and Cookoff Friday and Saturday, May 19-20.

The festival and awards stage will be on West Avenue downtown along the railroad tracks.

The barbecue competition is named in honor of the two local"Kings of Q," Latham "Bum" Dennis and the late Pete Jones.

This year, 37 professional cook teams will compete for the North Carolina State Barbecue Championship. The cookoff is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting barbecue.

The contest consists of four categories: chicken, pork ribs, pork and beef brisket. Blind judging by sanctioned judges begins at noon Saturday, May 20.

Festival events will include what organizers are billing as "the largest group of Shriners ever seen in a parade," carnival rides, live music and vendors.

Check out the festival's Facebook page for updated information.

Here's the schedule:

Friday, May 19 4-10 p.m. Self-guided tour of BBQ Village 4-11 p.m.: Rides, vendors and crafts open Beer garden at Cindirene;s, 559 Third St. 7-11 p.m.: Live music by Jupiter Jones, West Avenue stage

Saturday, May 20 8 a.m.-11 a.m.: Self guided tour of BBQ Village to watch the cook teams in action 8 a.m.-11 p.m.: Rides, vendors and crafts open, West Avenue to Second Street at Ayden Christian Church 10:45 a.m.: Sudan Shriner's Parade (follows Collard Festival parade route) 11 a.m.: People's Choice Voting begins, 462 Second St. Noon-11 p.m.: Beer garden, Cindirene's 559 W. Third St. Noon-5 p.m.: Live music, various artists, West Avenue Stage 1-6 p.m.: Car Cruise, East Avenue 5 p.m.: "Kings of Q" Awards Ceremony, West Avenue stage 7-11 p.m.: Live music by Kasey Tyndall, West Avenue stage