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Kewanee Hog Days (HOGFEST)
Kewanee, IL
Labor Day Weekend

Now, here's the thing. Back when the plan was for PSSA 2 to be the Plucky Nor'easter, but it was proving financially troubling, Rick called Mary and uttered one of her favorite pairs of words: HOG FEST. (Other contenders: world peace. True love. Chocolate dipped.)

Having spent one of the finest weekends of her life at the Basile Swine Fest in Southwest Louisiana, that's all it took for us to switch the Plucky Nor'easter to the Midwest Express. You can see why we only use caps for HOG FEST. It's the only way to come close to our level of anticipation and enthusiasm.

And oh, how it lived up to the hype. A 50 years and counting local tradition in the form of a street festival, the first thing we see is a very long grill covered with boneless pork chops and pork patties. We opted for the former, and in Mary's case, her chop was a little small, so there were two, each about an inch thick, grilled to just the right moist doneness, with a touch of regional BBQ sauce, all on a soft bun. It was perfection in sandwich form.

As we photographed it for your envy, the couple next to us guessed we were out of town, because we were taking pictures of our food. Little did they know we take pictures of our food at home. Pleased we were visiting, they directed us to the local landmark bar, a beautiful piece of 1930's preservation, a gorgeously carved wood bar, tile floor and more. We decided to skip their other recommendation, the block of furniture stores, because Plucky Mobile just doesn't have room for a sofa. Not after all the HOG FEST t shirts Mary bought.

We took in most of the parade, a series of various pageant queens in their tiaras and fluffy chiffon gowns posed on convertibles, homemade pig themed floats and marching bands. From signs on the floats, we learned that with HOG FEST, the Fun starts, variously, with the Son, church, us and, mostly, U. This was educational.

So was the carny banter at the game booths. Rick took up a dart challenge and won Mary a small stuffed pig, causing all the barkers to misinterpret our relationship and suggest he could impress Mary more by winning a really good sized pig (it is true; hers was smaller than her sandwich). She decided not to tell them that her husband was home overseeing the installation of the new bathroom, which is the real way to win her heart. We took a ride through the Castle of the Dead, which would have been perfect if it had been twice as long. All in all, a completely satisfying experience.

And by the way, thank you to the Kewanee Star-Courier for the Plucky Survivors shout out! We would say more about that but us writing about you writing about us writing about your town is the very definition of the Internet eating itself. It's how people get famous on YouTube. But still, thank you.

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