Thinking about hosting a community event?

  Do it in Downtown Smithfield and apply for the JEM grant to help with advertising costs!

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The Ham & Yam Festival began in 1985 as a challenge from Johnston County ham producers to the ham producers of Smithfield, Virginia. When the North Carolina hams kept winning, the Virginia producers stopped coming, but the festival has continued as a celebration of the area's agricultural history.

Festival attendees can find many varieties of hams and yams at the festival - country ham biscuits, baked sweet potatoes, sweet potato funnel cakes, sweet potato souffle ice cream, and more! 

The festival hosts the "What's That Yam Thing?" contest, a favorite for school-aged children given the opportunity to turn sweet potatoes into works of art.  Visitors wander through the festival area filled with hundreds of booths occupied by face painters, local non-profit organizations, and vendors selling items including garden flags, kitchen tools, handmade jewelry, and many other arts and crafts. The family event keeps crowds entertained with performances on multiple stages, children's games, and inflatables.  For more information, visit

As a Main Street America Affiliateâ„¢, the Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation is part of a national network of more than 1,200 neighborhoods and communities that share both a commitment to creating high-quality places and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development.
Community ms vertical color logoSmithfield is a North Carolina Main Street community, designated by the N.C. Department of Commerce Main Street & Rural Planning Center. The Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation is charged with administering the program at the local level and building public-private partnerships to spur economic development that achieves measurable results such as investment, business growth, and job creation.