January 16, 2017

Local Favorite Keeps Its Tradition Going

Text and photos by Ray Linville Whiteville, the largest city in Columbus County and the county seat, has been a hub of activity in eastern North Carolina since the county was formed in 1808. When vehicle traffic came onto the scene, major highways U.S.74, 76, and 701 intersected in the downtown section and brought tourists, courthouse business, and retail customers, all hungry at lunch for a quick, satisfying … [Read more...]

Hurricanes, Pigs, and People

Text by Sol Weiner, photos by Sol Weiner and Tom Clement (unless otherwise noted) Perhaps it seems insensitive, almost crass. With as much life and property lost in a storm like Hurricane Matthew, news outlets—with the pressure to constantly produce material—still run stories not about people washing away, but about pigs. And chickens. And turkeys. Whether the story is about the family pet falling victim to … [Read more...]

Spots Are Running

Text and photos by Ray Linville “They’re running” is a phrase that you hear often. It could be at the start of a NASCAR race in Charlotte, a 10K run in the Triangle, or a warning about bulls charging in Pamplona, Spain, but right now it’s a phrase referring to a seasonal phenomenon on the coast. For many coastal areas in North Carolina at this time of year, "they're running" means that spots are running near … [Read more...]

El’s Drive-In Shrimp Burger: A Crystal Coast Favorite

Text and photos by Sol Weiner Summer in North Carolina has now come and gone, and with it the height of beach season. Like many humans, I like the beach—there’s an ocean you can jump into, and a lot of tasty seafood. And like many folklorists, I also spend a lot of time in my car. While most of that time is spent driving, smaller portions are used on noble pursuits like sleeping in Walmart parking lots, changing … [Read more...]

Collard Eating as a Community Sport

Text and photos by Ray Linville Would you compete in a collard-eating contest? It’s an event I would rather watch, particularly after learning that the winner has to eat almost six pounds in half an hour. Collard-eating contests have been held in the town of Ayden in Pitt County for as long as most people can remember. The home of the official N.C. Collard Festival, Ayden has a lot of collard aficionados, and … [Read more...]

Whole Hog Cookin’

Text and photos by Ray Linville What’s the best way to develop a spirit of unity in a small town or city? In Newport, a town of 4,500 residents in Carteret County, an old-fashioned pig cookin’ is the best way to bring the community together by creating a lively competition to determine who can cook the best barbecue. Chartered as long ago as 1866, Newport has undoubtedly been the scene of quite a few pig cookin’s. … [Read more...]

A Gift from the Cake Lady

Text and images by Evan Hatch I just left Tommy and Adell Coley’s house in Baptist Grove, near Fuquay Varina, North Carolina. I interviewed Mrs. Coley for a folklife field study that NC Folk is conducting for the Harnett County Arts Council.  Adell is the first of almost 30 area artists and tradition bearers to be interviewed. Before I was invited into her home at 8 am that morning, all I knew about her was … [Read more...]

Finding Festival Food in Vanceboro

Photos and Images by Leanne E. Smith The Vanceboro Strawberry Festival & Rescue Day celebrates its namesake fruit, but it is also a fundraiser and outreach event for the Vanceboro Rescue Squad.  The town has a population of around 1,000 people, and it is centrally located between several other Eastern NC towns, being about 26 miles from Greenville in Pitt County and 19 from Washington in Beaufort County, both … [Read more...]

Recalling Fishing Camps of the Past

by Ray Linville   Fishing camps in eastern North Carolina were once where farmers could seek short-term employment in the fishing industry when the season arrived and, as described by NCpedia, “make a pile of money” by catching fish. Some camps were built on the coast, and nets were set from the beach to capture seasonal runs of several fish species. Other camps were built by sounds and their … [Read more...]

Collard-Stealing Night

by Sarah Bryan Here in North Carolina we’ve eaten up the winter collard greens, and are eagerly anticipating the early spring crop. Thinking about collards put us in mind of a tradition we learned about some years back, Collard-Stealing Night. Though it may have been practiced in various parts of North Carolina, it seems to have been most especially a Pender County “thing.” (The following text is excerpted from … [Read more...]