EATON —The 51st Preble County Pork Festival will be held this Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 17-18, much to the delight of festival-goers from around the state — and country.
Food, fun, hundreds of crafts vendors, and educational exhibits will return to the Preble County Fairgrounds for the festival this year.
The festival opens at 6:30 a.m., with breakfast both mornings and vendors and exhibits opening at 8 a.m.
The Pork Festival Parade begins at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, at the intersection of Barron and Decatur Streets and ends in front of the grandstands at the fairgrounds.
In a press release announcing this year’s festival theme, “For the Love of the Pork Festival,” festival officials noted, “As the rural county’s largest annual event, the Pork Festival, held every third full weekend in September, is a showcase of community, commerce, and employment opportunities for Preble County and surrounding areas.”
The release continued, “The festival’s rich history and nostalgia are wonderful examples of the spirit of all those who attend this well-preserved grand event tradition.”
This year, entertainment at the festival will include several free musical performances in the grandstands on Saturday and Sunday, including Honey & Blue on Saturday at 1:30 p.m., Zach Neil on Saturday at 3 p.m; 24/7 Party and on Sunday at 11 a.m., Britches Down on Sunday at 1 p.m. and The Growlers Band on Sunday at 3 p.m. Country legend Johnny Lee will appear on Saturday evening, at 7 p.m., with $15 general admission.
YouTube personality and cook “The Cajun Ninja” will appear at 1 and 4 p.m. on Saturday, and at 9 a.m., noon and 4 p.m. on Sunday, in Bruner Arena.
Earlier this year, RMJG events announced the return of the fan-favorite smorgasbord, which had been discontinued by organizers the past few festivals. The meal will be all inclusive, and include pork chops, sausage, sliced ham, coleslaw, baked beans, au gratin potatoes, pies and more.
“The Preble County Pork Festival is a true community event, and the smorgasbord has long been a part of this grand tradition,” RMJG said in a press release.” Organizers are glad to bring this back to the 2022 festival with fanfare. This one-of-a-kind dinner experience can only be found at the Preble County Pork Festival.” Pricing for the smorgasbord has been set at $25 for ages 11 and up, $20 for seniors and $15 for those aged 10 and under. Additional venues, including Breakfast, Short Order, Pop ‘n Chop, Nacho Stand, and others will still be available also.
Also new for 2022, a Friday Night Launch is being held as a standalone opener for the Pork Festival, Friday, Sept. 16. A hot air balloon launch and concert are set to kick-off the weekend festivities as part of a ticketed, evening event which begins at 6:30 p.m. Friday. There will be a $10 entry fee. Spectators will get to watch multiple hot air balloons launch, as well as two concerts by New Frontiers, who performs the hits of Journey, and Fleetwood Gold, a Fleetwood Mac tribute band.
Lots more fun and entertainment will fill both days of the festival. For the full schedule, visit www.porkfestival.org, or check out the special Pork Festival preview section inserted in this edition of The Register-Herald.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on Twitter @emowenjr.