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As tourist season ends, Sandbridge community gathers for pig pickin’ supporting rescue squad

BY LISA BURKETT

VIRGINIA BEACH — When September comes, the resort areas quiet down and the visiting Sandbridge families head back home so their children can get back to school and off to college. Oh, and their parents probably go back to jobs as well so they can afford to come visit us again next summer, as we would like.  

Coming back to the same area every summer again and again builds family memories. Everyone becomes familiar with “the way things are” in Sandbridge, and they look forward to returning to one of the most fun and family friendly beaches on the East Coast.

September is when the locals take back the streets and come out of their homes to breathe that fresh salty air and drag their covered grill back out to the patio. I had never been to the annual Sandbridge Pig Pickin’, which raises money for the Sandbridge Volunteer Rescue Squad, but that changed on Saturday, Sept. 9. 

The organization provides year-round emergency medical services to our community, and it is part of the wider volunteer system that benefits Virginia Beach as a whole.

This is an event which many locals look forward to as a sign that summer is over and a kind of Indian Summer for locals begins.  Homeowner friends who went last year said they had a great time. They invited my boyfriend, Bob, and me to join them. 

The last pig picking I attended was one I held for a close family friend and her fiancé in my back yard when they got engaged. I remember chopped pork, country western music and paper plates. It was fun.  

Prior to that, it was at college at the fraternity where I was a little sister. The brothers actually roasted a pig at the fraternity. If you wanted to eat, you pulled the pork off the actual pig yourself. This was difficult for me until I had some, and it was fabulous.  

But to me, good pork is half about the roasting, and then it’s all about the sauce. I am a North Carolina-kinda-sauce-gal. It’s vinegary. I’m delighted to find that vinegary is a real word.

It was with great anticipation that I attended the Sandbridge Pig Pickin’, and I wasn’t disappointed.

The food by Beach Bully Catering was outstanding. The fried chicken was fried onsite. I watched them.  The pork was awesome and there was a choice of sauces. Best of all, the green beans were yummy and the coleslaw was excellent. People from the South understand how important coleslaw is to any picnic. It may vary in ingredients, but we know when it is authentic, and this was good.

The band, The 7th Street Band, was perfect for the occasion – oldies, goodies, disco, contemporary hits. I like to dance, and I danced until I wished the beer truck had an oxygen tube. Well, I’m not 22 anymore.

The band is made up of local talent, and it had me at “Sweet Home Alabama.” I was born in Birmingham. It’s our anthem. 

All this great fun for only $35 per person. Two people can hardly go to a movie in a theater for that price anymore, popcorn not included, and you aren’t helping the folks dedicated to helping others in the process.

Well, as we say in the South, we had a grand old time, and I plan to go back next September. Most importantly, we raised money for the rescue squad.

Also, it was a community event. We got a lot of cool free stuff from the area property management companies. 

I bought some artistic earrings from a friend’s daughter who was a vendor. 

We saw friends from Sandbridge and from all over Hampton Roads. 

I’m afraid the rest of Hampton Roads is going to figure out what a great family get-together this is. 

I think we should keep this Sandbridge fundraiser and gathering local, with only close friends allowed from Norfolk or Chesapeake. Maybe a few from Suffolk.

I’m selfish that way in September.


Learn more about the Sandbridge Volunteer Rescue Squad online via sandbridgerescuesquad.com. Donations to support the squad can be made at the website.


Burkett is a Virginia Beach native and University of Richmond graduate who has been in marketing for over 25 years. She is a writer and photographer who owns her own craft business. Burkett has four children, ages 15 to 30. She lives in Sandbridge.


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