EATON — The 50th annual Preble County Pork Festival was a success, according to Festival Director Kim Fields, with thousands of people attending the two-day event last weekend from Sept. 18-19, in search of good food and crafts of all sorts.
“We can never really know how many people were there,” Fields said of the crowds. “We thought that COVID would probably cut us down a little bit but we were happy with it. There’s no way to know how many people were in there, and they come in spurts.
“The vendors were happy,” Fields said this week. “One of them said they’d had their best show since 2012. One of them said that it was the best show they’d ever had. My new vendors for this year have already reserved their spot for next year.”
Any leftover food was donated to local food pantries, according to Fields. “But we didn’t have a whole lot leftover.” Final numbers on the pounds of food sold are yet to be determined.
New this year for the festival was the inclusion of a beer garden, and a fireworks display celebrating the festival’s 50th anniversary, sponsored by Reid Health.
“We brought back, of course, the royalty,” Fields said. “And we did have our first three or four queens — the very first, Claudia Anderson.
“There were about 25 queens and princesses, and one ambassador on the float,” Fields said.
Some traditional events returned. “We brought back the pig tail contest,” she said. “We brought back the hog calling and that one was a hoot. It was pretty comical.”
Entertainment included music by Zach Neil, and comedy from the Moron Brothers, a Christian comedy act.
“We want to mention that we could not do this without our volunteers, without our sponsors, our corporate sponsors,” Fields said.
It takes at least 1,500 volunteers to pull off a festival of the Pork Festival’s magnitude. Wrapping up the festival will occur in meetings later this year before planning for the next festival begins.
The Pork Festival Board of Directors provides a scholarship to a student from each high school in Preble County each year and gives away two scholarships for students who are in college — one in honor of Tim H. Miller and the other in honor of Paul Ray. Applications for the scholarships are available online at www.porkfestival.org.
The Pork Festival Board is made up of representatives from each of Preble County’s 12 townships. (Fields represents Jefferson Township.) An application is available on the festival’s website (porkfestival.org) where people can apply to be a representative from their township on the festival board.
Corporate sponsors for the 2021 festival were Rumpke Waste and Edison State Community College. Reid Health sponsored the special fireworks. Gold sponsors were Cargill and Co-Alliance. Silver sponsors included Brubaker Grain & Chemical, Lawn Plus, Catron’s Glass, Classic Country Radio and The Greenbriar. Bronze sponsor for the year was Williams & Keckler.
Held the third full weekend in September each year, the 2022 Preble County Pork Festival is set for Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 17-18.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on Twitter @emowenjr