Going Hog Wild
Madison area businesses get into the act
No limit to the amount of creativity shown in ‘Pigmania’
(Aug. 12, 2016) – When pigs fly.”
“You can put a lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.”
“A hog in a silk waistcoat is still a hog.”
“You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”
Chances are you have heard one or more of these sayings. Chances are even greater that you have seen these sayings put to use during the 15-year history of Madison Ribberfest BBQ & Blues Festival.
Dubbed the best part of the annual festival by chairman Kevin Watkins, Pigmania links modern-day Madison with Madison in the 1800s.
Francine Luzake, owner of Francine’s Log Cabin, painted her pig to help promote her business, Francine’s Log Cabin in Madison, Ind.
“In the 1800s, when Madison was a main port for the livestock industry, it wasn’t uncommon to see a renegade pig running down Main Street,” says Watkins. “Pigmania allows us to bring pigs back to Main Street without all the mess and in much better outfits.”
Watkins, a veterinarian who owns The PetsDoc Veterinary Clinic and is a co-owner of the Red Bicycle Hall in Madison, has been involved with the event from the beginning and has chaired the event since the second year.
Starting with 10 pigs the first year, the Pigmania “corral” has grown this year to accommodate 40 sprightly decorated concrete pigs.
Businesses or individuals adopt the pigs for $125 a year. Delivered in the spring, participants are encouraged to make a statement with their pig – paint it, decorate it, give it a name or follow a theme. Pigs begin popping up on doorsteps around Madison prior to the July 4 weekend.
“Many organizations have been with us from the beginning, but each year, we add a few new sponsors,” said Watkins.
Two new Pigmania sponsors this year are Francine’s Log Cabin, owned by Tom and Francine Luzaka, and River Terrace Health Campus.
A local artist, Luzaka said she saw Pigmania as a chance to support Madison and promote her business at the same time.
“I have to say, this is the first time I have painted on a concrete pig. The ideas just started to flow, and I had a blast,” Luzaka said. “The best part is that it is a fundraiser.”
Luzaka’s pig is a snapshot of the views from the cabin. A 20th wedding anniversary gift from her husband, the 200-year-old cabin now serves as a guest cabin for Madison area visitors.
River Terrace Health Campus joins sister property Thornton Terrace in adopting a pig. The new facility opened last year in downtown Madison.
Photo by Madonna Wilson
River Terrace Health Campus staff and residents are transforming their pig into the famous Pokemon character, Pikachu. Pictured with their pig in progress are Matt Black, a physical therapist from Madison; resident Margaret Taylor from Milton, Ky.; Andrea Fante, an occupational therapist from La Grange, Ky.; and Ashley Zinninger, an occupational therapist from Henry County, Ky.
“We have been welcomed with open arms by the community during the restoration of the old King’s Daughters’ Hospital,” said Shelly Dews, Community Service Representative. “We were pleased to find a way to give back to the community in such a fun way.”
According to Dews, the creation of their entry, Pikachu Pig, was incorporated into the residents’ occupational therapy sessions. Therapy Program Director Andrea Fante said she saw the work on the pig as an opportunity. Sanding old paint and adding new coats provided residents with therapy that was interesting, different and at the same time beneficial to the community.
On Thursday, Aug. 18, volunteers from Andersons’ Sales & Service will round up the pigs and relocate them to their temporary home on the waterfront.
“We could not accomplish this task without the great folks at Andersons,” added Watkins. “They have been with us from the beginning by loaning trucks, gators and people to pick up the pigs from all over town.”
Photo by Patti Watson
Clifty Inn Manager Renie Stephens poses with the park’s 2016 Pigmania entry, appropriately named “Cliff T. Falls.”
The pigs will be on display at Madison riverfront during the Aug. 19-20 festival. Entries compete for two awards: the People’s Choice Award and the Judge’s Choice.
Those interested in sponsoring a pig in 2017 can email a request to: MadisonRibberfest@gmail.
Next to each participating pig will be a container to collect votes in the form of money. The entry that generates the most money in donations is crowned the Peoples’ Choice winner.
The Judge’s Choice is selected by a panel of celebrity judges (yet to be announced) who rank the entries based on originality, artwork, overall esthetics and applicability to Ribberfest.
In 2015 the entry from Main Attractions hair salon set a new record by winning both the People’s Choice and Judge’s Choice awards for its entry called “Pulled Pork.” Mane Attractions also won the People’s Choice Award in 2014 with an entry called “Ham & Cheese.”
Money generated by the sponsorship of the pigs, voting by the community and the auction of pigs, all go to support scholarships for Jefferson County, Ind., high school graduates.
Applicants do not have to be entering college or trade school freshman but must show proof of enrollment in a qualifying program.
“There are so many scholarships and awards for freshmen, so it is nice to be able to assist an upperclassman,” said Watkins.
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