CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The 87th annual Mallard Creek Barbecue drew thousands of people and politicians Thursday.

The event is one of the biggest campaign events of the year. With an estimated 20,000 people attending each year, it’s a great opportunity for candidates to reach out to voters.

“I liked how some of them talked about decreasing the debt for our generation,” Marco Pierce, 17, said, after chatting with the politicians. “Like how they left us so much debt and they want to cut spending and make it easier on us.”

Pierce can’t vote yet, but wanted to learn more about the candidates.

“I think it’s really informational,” he said. “It’s good to know who the candidates are and what they stand for.”

Thousands of people lined up to shake hands with the political hopefuls, including Scotty Brown and his 15-year-old daughter Abby.

“I didn’t realize they’d be standing there and be so accessible and pitching their messages, it’s democracy in action,” Brown said. “They had an idea of what they wanted to talk about, I have my daughter with me and they wanted to talk about debt and passing along to the younger generation, a lot of good topics.”

Fourteen thousand pounds of pork, with a side of good old fashioned campaigning were being served at the barbecue.

“This is the way it’s supposed to be,” Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest said. “Shaking hands and talking to people and looking them in the eye, this is what politics is all about.”