A group of Orange County residents have made it their mission to bring back the Hog.
They hope to keep the 32-year tradition of the Hillsborough Hog Day Festival going. Their tentative theme this year will be “Bringing home the bacon.”
The event, which is Orange County’s largest festival incorporating food, music and other activities, was hosted by the Hillsborough/Orange County Chamber of Commerce. However, the group decided to cancel it in January.
The Chamber’s board said it was supposed to be a fundraiser for the organization, but the undertaking had become too large for a small staff to handle.
Craig Lloyd, who is helping to organize efforts to bring the Festival back, recently retired as the Executive Director of the Hillsborough/ Orange County Chamber of Commerce and also ran the event for about six years.
“We actually started this as soon as we heard that the Chamber was looking at cancelling it this year. We kind of put together an all-star team of veterans, volunteers and supporters of Hog Day from over the years.”
That team includes Joe Crews, who helped to found Hog Day; Jim Dooley, who served as Chairman of the event; and Jeff Woods, owner of Carolina Game & Fish in Hillsborough, who helped in past barbecue operations.
“We all have a passion and a love for our community and this festival. It has meant a lot to us.”
Hog Day will likely be held at the Occoneechee Speedway on Elizabeth Brady Rd., which is run by the Historic Speedway Group, he said.
The goal this year, Llloyd explained, is to bring back some of the original elements of the festival. The plan is to move it back to the third weekend in June.
“We are kind of bringing back the old team and a lot of the things that we used to do way back when, from the old, fun contests like the Hog Hollerin’ contest that I think people will be excited about.”
Lloyd said the group is currently looking for sponsors, volunteers, vendors and crafters to help make Hog Day a reality.
Since creating the firstname.lastname@example.org address, he shared that the group has received more than 500 emails from people expressing interest in helping out.