THE ANNUAL High on the Hog Festival welcomed the summer festival season. For the past 35 years the festival has been welcoming locals and visitors alike with seven days worth of events that all do one important thing: raise money for local charities in Franklin County.
This year the event included a backyard barbecue challenge, carnival, steak cook-off, 5K run, cruise-in, poker run, and live music.
According to event organizer and long-time member of the Franklin County Kiwanis Club, Brenda Long, the main purpose of the event is to raise money for local charities.
“The event raises money for local charities throughout Franklin County,” she explained. “The carnival is pretty much where we make our money. The rest of the events are there to help bring people out to the park. Everything we do though has the purpose, as far as fundraising and spending money within the county.”
Long added that new to the festival this year was the craft show. She and the club were excited to offer it to festival goers and hope that it will be an even bigger success in 2023.
“We knew that it would start out small. But we hope over the years it will grow,” she said.
Now, after over two decades with the event, Long said she was glad to be able to welcome it back for another year.
“I’ve been with the event for 22 years,” she said. “The Kiwanis club took over the event in 2003. All of it coming together is kind of a miracle, quite honestly. After COVID, we had a 2-year lull, and we sort of had to go dormant. But last year we had a new event with the steak cook-off. The Steak Cook-Off Association came in and we had that along with the carnival.”
She also added that the festival is a labor of love for her and her fellow club members.
“I call her my partner in crime. Jeannie Bates and I have worked together on it for years and years,” she said. “We started out helping our husbands cook. Then we got this bright idea that we didn’t want to do that because we were doing a lot of the work. We then decided that we would go into the judging classes. Then the other organization that had the event didn’t have a lot of volunteers, and they gave it to us because we were the only ones who knew anything about barbecue. And over the years Jeannie and I have just sort of drug other members in, teaching them and trying to keep for the community.”
While the festival continues to grow, Long invites members of the community to come out and volunteer. She and her fellow club members hope to see the event carry on for years to come and continue to raise funds for those in need in Franklin County. GN