The Ham & Yam Festival is a fun, one-day food festival in the heart of Smithfield, North Carolina. If you’re passionate about local produce and trying new things, then there’s every reason to pack your RV and hit the road for Smithfield.
Every year, this food festival brings hundreds, if not thousands, of people to this Johnson County town. It’s organized by the Smithfield Downtown Development Corporation and is held at the Neuse River Amphitheatre at 200 S. Front Street.
The Ham & Yam Festival has been gracing the town since the mid-1980s and is showing no signs of slowing down. There’s a barbeque cook-off, music, entertainment, hundreds of booths, contests, and chances to compete for cash prizes. There’s also no shortage of ham or yams, and the kids will get their fill of carnival rides and games as well.
The Ham & Yam Festival location is also another reason why people flock to North Carolina. Smithfield is proximate to the bustling towns of West Smithfield and Selma, and the event site backs on to the Neuse River. It’s a stunning area and one that’s not only a pleasure to drive to, but stay in as well.
If you want to celebrate spring and warm the RV up for summer to follow, then herein lies your opportunity. The Ham & Yam Festival is not one to miss.
The beauty of the Ham & Yam Festival, aside from the abundance of food to try, is that it has traditionally been free to visit. You can bring mom, dad, the kids, and even the grandparents, and save every penny for the vendors, rides, and wares insides. You can visit the Ham & Yam Festival website for updated schedules and entertainment.
Smithfield is central in North Carolina between Raleigh, Virginia, and Charlotte. Many major highways nestled amid forest and farmland provide a scenic and easy journey to the small town of over 12,000. Interstates 40 and 95 may be the most direct routes to the township.
While spring weather tends to be largely undisruptive, it wouldn’t hurt to pay attention to live travel information for Raleigh and Johnston County, North Carolina. Once you reach Smithfield, many routes may lead you to exit I-95 and take US-70's Business Route to Neuse River where you’ll likely spot the Neuse River Amphitheatre.
While there are a few on-street parking options available around the Neuse River and surrounding streets, RV-goers may struggle to squeeze in their big rigs. If you arrive early enough to the festival, you may be able to secure a parking spot at the nearby Smithfield Town Commons Park. Alternatively, you may need to leave it at your campground for the day and make use of public transportation to get you to and from the festival.
If you require transportation from your RV campsite to the festival, there are both private ride services and taxis in operation. Several campgrounds are on the fringes of Smithfield or in neighboring towns, so may not be able to walk from them to the festival. Your best option is to park your RV in town or arrange transportation.
Onsite camping is not available for RV-goers or tenters, but you may not mind in the slightest. You can spend all day by the river, soaking up the action at the festival, then make your way to a nearby campground once the festival is complete.
There are multiple campgrounds within a ten-minute drive of Smithfield in the neighboring town of Four Oaks. These are proximate to the main highway and won’t be a hassle to travel from to get to the festival.
As you leave the fringes of Smithfield, there are even more along Interstate-95 which borders Selma. You may not be in the town center, but you’ll never be far from the action. You can then drive your RV into Smithfield or arrange transportation from your campsite to the festival.
Once you arrive at the Neuse River Amphitheatre, you will be able to check out all the action on foot, without the need for a bicycle or scooter. Guests often find an expansive and open entertainment area with a myriad of vendors and events encompassing it. Little is too far away to be seen while on foot at the Ham & Yam Festival.
Even though summer is yet to arrive when the time for the festival comes, Smithfield likes to turn up the heat for the Ham and Yam Festival. You can expect warm temperatures that provide an opportunity for you to pack all your summery wares for that sun-kissed look. Bring a few long-sleeved shirts and pants in case you encounter a few overcast days on your adventure in North Carolina.
If you’re unsure what your accommodation provider offers in the way of service hookups and amenities, then make sure you bring everything with you to live off the grid. Cookware and camping accessories are a must. You can leave these in your RV when you visit the Ham & Yam Festival, but bring a backpack with cash, water, and space for purchases from all the different vendors.
Participating in an event? Make a list of what you might want to have on hand while at the festival. Maybe include a change of clothes if you plan to rock the pie-eating contest.
Before you leave home, it wouldn’t hurt to pack a few things into your RV for peace of mind on your travels. Sun safety items such as sunglasses, sunscreen, and a sun hat will ensure you’re comfortable, while a first aid kit can take care of any blisters, cuts, or scrapes. If you have any medical needs, make sure you have your prescriptions and supplies with you. Even bug spray won’t go astray due to the proximity of the river to the festival.
Rules and regulations for cooking can vary from one campsite to the next. Some will have communal cooking areas, and all will allow the use of your onboard kitchen appliances. You may even get a chance to cook at the Ham & Yam Festival, with a competition that allows you to release your culinary creativity.
If you need to pop to the shops for items, there are a few grocery stores and markets along S. 3rd Street, not all too far from the Neuse River Amphitheatre.
After a full day of entertainment at the Ham and Yam Festival, you may be feeling a little peckish. If that’s the case, you’re in the right town. There are plenty of eateries along E. Market Street and down S. Brightleaf Boulevard. Intimate restaurants, ethnic cuisine, and fast food chains await your inspection.
Fancy ham? Or how about yams? Hams, yams, jams… there’s all that and more at the Ham & Yam Festival. Hundreds of vendors set up shop by the Neuse River to offer some of their finest dishes and treats. Make sure you carry both cash and credit to avoid missing out on your first pick of delights and surprises.
Given the size of the Ham & Yam Festival, the local Smithfield Police Department is bound to pop in for a visit and make sure everything is running smoothly. If you need help with a matter, you can also head down to the department, by the Smithfield Fire Department, which is half a mile from the festival site.
In the past, Smithfield has turned up the heat for the Ham and Yam Festival. It’s not uncommon for it to be between 60 and 85 degrees, with minimal rainfall and a muggy feeling in the air. You’re unlikely to need to wrap up warm for your trip to Smithfield, but make sure your heating and cooling units are in working order before you hit the road.
If you feel unwell or happen to injure yourself while in Smithfield, there are plenty of experts around to help. The local medical center is under two miles from the festival site, which has plenty of parking for easy access. There is also a pharmacy within one mile for you to stock up on any medical supplies you require.