CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It is one of Charlotte's oldest and most cherished traditions and for the 88th year, the Mallard Creek Barbecue drew thousands of people for a day of fun, food, and even some politicking.

The event dates back to 1929, the time of the Great Depression.

The Mallard Creek Presbyterian Church needed to raise some cash for a building project and decided to hold a barbecue.

In recent years the event has grown and now draws some 20,000 people.

"We grew up with Mallard Creek Presbyterian Church and its family, fun, and food," said Ashley Austin.

Lots of food.

Jimmy Brown spent much of the last week helping to chop 15,000 pounds of pork barbecue, 2,500 gallons of Brunswick Stew and two tons of cabbage.

Asked if he was sick of barbecue when it's all over, Brown said, "Well, I don't want none right now."

Any huge crowd is hard to pass up for politicians running for office, so it has been a tradition for the candidates to stop by and shake hands.

So as not to disturb lunch, the politicians are kept in a roped off area and are not allowed to interrupt people eating.

Folks who do want to meet their candidates form a line and pass by stopping if they want to chat.

Republican mayoral candidate Kenny Smith remembered coming to the barbecue with his father, and now he is one of those asking for votes.

He thinks his father, who passed away, would be proud.

"I can remember coming through here and seeing Mayor Vinroot, Parks Helms, and all the old school Charlotte politicians, and now to be standing where they stood is pretty special."

His Democratic opponent, Vi Lyles said the barbecue is all about tradition.

"I'm running for Mayor because I believe in our city and our values and traditions, and this is one of the greatest traditions that we have in our community," Lyles said.