Pork Festival has strong crafts component

“Pork chops are probably one of the don’t-miss foods,” said Nancy Huggins, coordinator for the festival that runs Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 15-16 at the Preble County Fairgrounds.

Huggins then added that the pulled pork sandwiches are also good, and a lot of people like the ham sandwiches too.

Festival-goers buy a lot of pork – from the all-you-can-eat pancake and sausage breakfast, to the pulled pork and cheese nachos, to the pork chop smorgasbord. Last year 48,739 pounds of pork was served at the Preble County Pork Festival, and the festival was named Ohio’s 2011 Pork Promoter of the Year.

Although meat prices are rising, Huggins said the festival will be keeping their food prices the same as last year. She noted that corporate sponsorship from Buchy Food Service and Rumpke Trash & Recycling helps keep the food prices down.

“We want to remain an affordable festival,” Huggins said. Parking and admission are free again this year.

What festival-goers will see an increase of this year is the number of exhibitors. About 55-60 new vendors, most who make handcrafted products, are expected to exhibit this year. Huggins said she spent the winter months searching online for potential vendors and encouraging them to come to the festival. As a result, the festival will feature about 350 vendors from 12 states.

“It’s pretty much an arts and crafts festival,” Huggins said, noting that the crafts range from glass, wood, and metal items to toys.

In addition to the arts and crafts, the festival will include entertainment by various musical groups. The headliner is Tonic Sol Fa, an a cappella group. Other attractions include pig races, the children’s pig art display, and a Saturday morning parade. Dr. James Thomson and his son, Dr. Derek Thomson, will share the grand marshal honors for the parade.

Again this year, about 100,000 to 150,000 people are expected to attend the two-day festival. Proceeds from the festival are used for fairgrounds improvements, school and community organizations, and scholarships.

“This is a wonderful community event that brings in a lot of money locally,” Huggins said.

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