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Smithfield postpones Ham & Yam

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SMITHFIELD — The Downtown Smithfield Development Corp. on Thursday postponed its annual Ham & Yam Festival indefinitely because of the coronavirus.

“The Ham & Yam Festival has been a Smithfield staple for the past 35 years,” said Sarah Edwards, executive director of the downtown group. “Our first priority with the festival is always safety, and in an abundance of caution and for the health and safety of all attendees and our community, we have decided that it is appropriate to postpone the festival at this time.”

In a news release, the board of the downtown group noted that Gov. Roy Cooper had banned mass gatherings until at least April 13 and that the Centers for Disease Control was advising against large gatherings until at least May 10.

“The board’s consensus was that there was simply too much uncertainty to feasibly move forward,” the release said.

Ham & Yam routinely draws some 20,000 people to Smithfield for country ham biscuits, sweet potato treats, a barbecue cook-off, entertainment and vendors. With so many moving parts, finding a new date might take time, Edwards said.

“Rest assured, we will share information as it becomes available,” she said. “In the meantime, we hope that everyone will join us in downtown Smithfield at our events scheduled later in the spring and into the summer.”

Edwards said she hopes too “that the community continues supporting our small businesses in an effort to keep #Smithfield Strong.”