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Presidential candidates invited to Ham & Yam

With North Carolina looking like the site of a possible political showdown between GOP presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, the organizers of this year's Ham & Yam Festival decided to extend an invitation to them and President Barack Obama to attend this year's event.

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ham & yam
By
Kathy Hanrahan

With North Carolina looking like the site of a possible political showdown between GOP presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, the organizers of this year's Ham & Yam Festival decided to extend an invitation to them and President Barack Obama to attend this year's event. 

Ham & Yam, which is held annually in downtown Smithfield, takes place the weekend prior to the May 8 North Carolina primary. 

"What better place to talk about the future and direction of this great nation, and "pork barrel" projects, than in Smithfield at the annual Ham & Yam Festival?" Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation executive director Chris Johnson said in a press release. "As a political junkie, I questioned why wouldn't a candidate want to visit our festival to gather support and bring home the bacon."

Last year, 25,000 people attended the free two-day event. 

Candidates were invited through e-mail. The local Democratic and Republican parties will have informational booths for local and national candidates at the festival. 

None of the campaigns have responded as of Monday, Johnson said. 

Whether the candidates attend or not, Ham & Yam has a full lineup of entertainment, including Molly Hatchet doing a free concert on May 4 and Nashville recording artist The Lost Trailers performing the following night. 

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