We’re in Burlington, Vermont, a nice town on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain. We love Lake Champlain, by the way. It’s very scenic, of course, but what we’re enjoying most, I think, is swimming in FRESH WATER. No salt – what joy! More about Burlington, later. I didn’t want too much more time to pass before we told you about the Pig Out.
Shortly after we were tied up to the Troy City Marina Dock ($10/night), we started getting questions and concerned comments from passers by: “Are you guys stuck here?“; “Gee…hope you’re able to get your boat fixed soon“; “Is your boat broken?“.
With the mast down, I guess all did not look right in our boat-world to the average land lubber.
We had a good spot on the city warf (easy walk to everything), with the Green Island Bridge in the background.
So we explained to those who’d asked that no, our boat wasn’t broken, we just had the mast down to allow us to navigate the low bridges of the Champlain Canal (and beyond). Then we walked around town for a while, then called it a day.
The next morning we did some provisioning at the Troy Farmer’s Market, and explored Downtown Troy a little bit more…
We didn’t know this until we visited, but Troy is the birthplace of “Uncle Sam”.
The story is that during the War of 1812, Sam Wilson, a local meat packer, lived and worked in Troy, New York. Barrels of meat rations (it was packed in barrels in those days) were stamped US, before they were shipped to the soldiers, who at the time associated their United States supplied meat with Uncle Sam Wilson. As these things tend to do, the story grew to mythological proportions, resulting in a stylized image of Sam Wilson emerging as the white bearded, red, white ‘n blue clad symbol of America.
In fact, on September 15th, 1961, the 87th Congress of the United States passed the following resolution: “Resolved by the Senate and the House of Representatives that the Congress salutes Uncle Sam Wilson of Troy, New York, as the progenitor of America’s National symbol of Uncle Sam.”
Who knew? Not us…
There’s an Uncle Sam art project (similar to the Tulip thing in Ottawa), where there are dozens of painted Uncle Sam’s placed around the city…here’s a picture of one of them with Phill and his giant lemonade he picked up at the market.
So back to the Pig Out…as you might imagine, the Troy Pig Out is a giant Pig Roast. It’s also a BBQ competition that qualifies winning competitors for one of the grand-daddys of BBQ contests, The American Royal Open in Kansas City, MO.
Here are some sights from the fest’s Bacon Alley:
Phill tries a sample of the bacon cotton candy…yes, it tasted like bacon.
The People’s Choice Rib BBQ competition started at 5 pm. You get to participate in ranking the competitors by buying tickets to sample the entries ($1 ticket = 1 rib sample), and picking your top three favourites on the supplied ballot.
Did I mention that admission to the Troy Pig Out is free? The live music was playing since 11am so the festival started turning into quite a party as the afternoon wore on.
It was really, really hot and sunny on the 13th, so we parked our chairs in the shade of some tents set up by what appeared to be a large extended family. We were apologetic for stealing their shade, but they said “Don’t apologize! That’s what we brought the tents for…help yourselves to a cold drink from the cooler.“. Pretty nice, huh? As John, the father of three of the kids running laps around the tents, explained to us, the Pig Out is like Christmas in summertime, and they like to do it in comfort.
We met a lot of nice people that afternoon, so we stuck around and enjoyed the (FREE!) fireworks with them that evening.
We’re glad we gave Troy a try.