Don’t let Swine Time go away

Published 8:13am Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Saturday, I had the pleasure of doing something I have truly enjoyed doing for the past 38 years.

I covered the 38th annual Swine Time Festival in Climax. It was a first-class, well-run and enjoyable event, just as it has been year in and year out.

Thirty-eight years ago, I took a picture of late Climax Mayor Red Allen and the then-members of the Climax city council and the Climax Community Club, around a big hog in downtown Climax, as they announced that the community club was going to begin an annual town festival. That festival would, of course, be held the Saturday after Thanksgiving each year, and would be named “Swine Time.”

Climax Community Club presidents, from my dear late friend Clifford Wells to current president Philip Dodson, and Climax mayors, from the late Red Allen to current mayor Charles Hadsock, have done an outstanding  job of being greatly involved and promoting Swine Time through the years.

My great memories of Swine Time are many. I remember the year when Climax native Ernie Riles was rookie of the year with the Milwaukee Brewers, and he and former Georgia Gov. Joe Frank Harris were featured guests at Swine Time.

The headline I wrote for The Post-Searchlight story announcing Ernie and the governor being featured Swine Time guests read, “Riles, Harris to be at Swine Time.”

My dear friend and former Post-Searchlight owner and publisher Sam Griffin asked me why I used Ernie’s name before the governor’s name in the headline.

I simply replied that Ernie had a better year than the governor.

Then there was the year that a former Climax resident, whose husband was a Pan-Am pilot, told me that on Swine Time day her husband tuned on his television in his hotel room in Tokyo and saw the Swine Time best-dressed pig contest on CNN.

Each year, the Climax Community Club helps many worthy local youth and adult organizations through money generated at Swine Time.

One year, the winner of the Swine Time Run told me that when he ran by the late Earl Hester’s hog farm, a huge hog let out a loud snort and it improved his time by 10 seconds.

One year my dear friend Ann Ariail asked me to be the Swine Time parade’s grand marshal. Airial was the wife of my dear late friend Lt. Col. Doyce Ariail, who along with Col. Gary Breedlove and his Bainbridge High School Air Force Junior ROTC cadets, took care of Swine Time parking for many years.

I considered it a great honor and graciously accepted.

I have recently heard some rumors that Saturday may have been the final Swine Time.

The reason given is that many of the Climax Community Club members are senior citizens like myself, and they need to get more young people involved to keep it going.

I urge young people to get involved and current Climax Community Club members to accept them and their ideas with open arms.

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