GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Smokers were rolled in, barbecue pits were fired up and tents were set up Friday evening for this year’s 37th Annual Pigskin Pig-Out at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

Thirty participants are hoping to win this year’s top prize of $500 cash along with $500 towards their Pirate Club membership.

“It’s good to see so many faces,” East Carolina Athletic Director Jon Gilbert said. “… I’m obviously excited about (Saturday). The spring (football) game starts at 12:30. Activities for our kids begin at 10. We’ve got interactive games, we’ve got Touch-A-Trucks that kids can climb on. So come on out, lots of activities tomorrow, and obviously plenty of barbecue plates for people to buy.”

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The previous two Pigskin Pig-Outs were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When you look at the past two years, there’s been no spring game and very little fan involvement,” Gilbert said. “We’re excited that fans will be back.”

Gilbert noted that the Pirate baseball and softball teams will add to the excitement with home games Saturday. ECU will continue its baseball series with Wichita State while the softball team hosts Houston.

Eric Ward, ECU Athletics Director of Marketing, said it’s a tradition like no other.

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“It’s a really cool combination of our finest tradition of pig cooking and Pirate football. It’s a very unique tradition in college sports and the ability to have a sanctioned pig cooking event to kind of lead into our spring game and then sell barbecue tomorrow makes it a really fun event for our fans and community,” Ward said.

Competition winners will be announced with barbecue plates for sale starting Saturday morning at 10.

Watch the video to learn more and hear from some Pigskin Pig-Out competitors.