Nassim Stackhouse had big dreams when his family decided to head to the Chitlin’ Strut festival in Salley, S.C., on Saturday. The 7-year-old was determined to win the Hawg Call contest.
“He was practicing in the car on the way here,” said Nassim’s grandmother, Wanda Norris. “He said he was going to win.”
Nassim got his wish, even though he doesn’t have any hogs at home. His grin while holding his trophy shined of triumph.
The whole day surrounded a southern delicacy called the chitlin – a contraction of the word “chitterlings,” which are pig intestines.
On every Saturday after Thanksgiving since its inception in 1966, the town of Salley has been frying up chitlins by the ton.
Christina Hammack, the chairman for ticket sales, said they had sold at least 2,500 tickets by about 4 p.m., which was a good day. All the proceeds go toward renovations in the town.
The first Chitlin’ Strut was started to fix the town’s Christmas lights, according to Robin Hanshaw. Hanshaw’s father, Maxie Adams, was one of the festival’s founders.
“I have come out every year since I was born,” she said. “If we get good weather, we almost always sell out.”
Year after year, thousands of people make the trip to the small Aiken County town. The increase of attendance from 398 to more than 50,000 has gotten the town a new fire truck among other things. Hammack appreciates it since she is one of the town’s volunteer firefighters.
“The money helps out with the repairs we need,” she said.
Guitarist Davie Shull said he won a contest at the Chitlin’ Strut when he was younger, so he felt very loyal to the festival.
David Keith Clemmons of Florence, S.C., has been coming for 22 years. And every year he has been competing for the Hawg Call trophy.
“After all these tries, I finally won,” he said.
Last year he had come in second in the eating contest by consuming nearly three pounds of chitlins.
Neil Evans, 20, of Gray Court, S.C., won the “strut” dancing contest. He has come to the festival every year since he was little. This is the first time he entered the contest though.
After he had won, a Michael Jackson impersonator was spotted in the crowd and the two had a dance-off.
The impersonator, Joey Fulgham of Aiken, then took the stage for a song.