CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The successful 88th annual Mallard Creek Barbecue ended Thursday. It brought out almost 20,000 people who consumed 15,000 pounds of barbecue.
Slow cooked pork draws big crowds year after year, but this is a barbecue with political flavor. Many were focused on the upcoming Charlotte mayor's race this year.
Democratic Mayor Pro Tem Vi Lyles and Republican City Councilman Kenny Smith are in the home stretch of their campaigns.
Meet and greet opportunities like the barbecue can make a difference with less than two weeks before next month's election.
"We want to have safe streets, better infrastructure and jobs. We've been campaigning on that from day one," Smith said.
Lyles told reporters, "I look at my ability to be in every part of the city to know what people have lived through and what they're challenges are, and to be ready to act on day one."
With polls showing a close race, voters at the barbecue told WBTV that there is myriad of issues that will get them to the ballot box. Voters said concerns over public safety, roads, and the economy are key points.
"I'm running a campaign with people. I'm reaching out to people individually," Lyles said.
"You're crisscrossing the City of Charlotte, talking to every voter you can and getting our message out, and working on our ground game," Smith said describing the last few days of the race.
Early voting is playing a role with the latest numbers revealing 1,100 voters who have voted ahead of next month's election.