Swine Time Festival one of the best

Published 9:16 pm Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Climax Community Club’s 36th annual Swine Time Festival Saturday was one of the best ever.

That was the feeling expressed Monday by Climax Mayor and Community Club President Charles Hadsock.

“We had more venders than we ever had before, and the people stayed longer and enjoyed the contests and other entertainment,” Hadsock said. “I would estimate we had about 20,000 people during the day.”

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Sarah Hunter of Palatka, Fla., won the best dressed pig contest. She called her pig Ellie Mae. She also won the contest at last year’s Swine Time Festival with a pig she called Little Country Boy.

Matthew McElroy of Bainbridge won the men’s chitterling eating contest.

Morrell Clemons, former Bainbridge High School Bearcats football team nose guard, who has won the contest several times, was a close second despite having a double helping of chitterlings.

Five-year-old Rylen Ray Mercer, son of Rodney and Kem Mercer of Tallahassee, Fla., and grandson of Royce and Lynn Mercer of Thomasville, Ga., drew applause from the special events stage crowd with a rousing hog imitations rendition.

The multi-colored Swine Time quilt, made by the Climax Sew and Sew Quilters, which was auctioned off on the main stage following the Swine Time parade, was purchased for $600 by retired U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Major Glenn Mize of West Palm Peach, Fla., in honor and memory of his cousin, Burrell Dixon Phillips of Climax, who survived the Bataan Death March but died in a prison camp in the Philippines during World War II.

This year’s Swine Time Festival was dedicated to 15 World War I, World War II and Vietnam War Climax area veterans who lost their lives defending our country’s freedoms.

Crosses and American flags in their honor and memory have been placed in Parker Park in downtown Climax. In his welcoming remarks, Hadsock expressed his heart-felt condolences to their families while reading each of their names.

Each year on Memorial Day and Veterans Day, Climax resident and U.S. Army World War II veteran Bob Jones places crosses in the park in honor and memory of deceased Climax area World War I, World War II and Vietnam War veterans

The 15 honorees were John Oliver Hunt, Harvey L. Kelley, Paul Jones, James Clifton Wilder and Charles Edwards from World War I; Leonard Keigans, Charles H. Strickland, Herman C. Thomas, J.C. Sanders, Robert Floyd Jones, Burrell Dixon Phillips, Robert M. Trulock, Carl J. Phillips and Rayford M. Dollar from World War II and Billy Knight from Vietnam.

The parade includes a float with the crosses and flag and the award-winning Bainbridge High School Marching Bearcat Band.

Vicky Duvall of Lakeland, Fla., won the woman’s hog calling contest, and Shereze Johnson Scott of Quincy, Fla., was second.

Ms. Duvall, whose mother, Sandy Adams, lives in Bainbridge and is a Decatur County School System bus driver unfortunately lost her engagement ring somewhere on the Swine Time grounds. A reward is being offered. Anyone finding it should call (863) 619-7960.

Billy Simmons Jr. of Bainbridge won the men’s hog calling contest, and Ellis Borden of Bainbridge was second.

Before competing, Simmons told special events stage master of ceremonies Carlton Eakin that, while he had never called hogs before, he raised one named Wilbur to show when he was a member of the Future Farmers of America Chapter at Ben Hill Middle School in Tampa, Fla.

Six-year-old Ja’Liyah Williams of Quincy, Fla., won the girl’s hog calling contest, and 6-year-old Andrean Harrell of Baldwin, Fla., won the boy’s hog calling contest.

Nine-year-old Kelsey Bowen of Bainbridge won the 8- to 12-year-old Hula Hoop contest, and 14-year-old Jordan Taylor of Bainbridge won the 14- to 16-year-old Hula Hoop contest.

Three long distance prizes were awarded to those who traveled the farthest distance to Swine Time.

Barbara Clemons of Rome won the award for traveling the farthest in Georgia, Carolyn Crozlolae of Fresno, Calif., won the award for traveling the farthest in the United States, and Klas Trudell of Sweden won the award for traveling the farthest in the world.

Lois Blanton of Climax was the winner of the drawing for the $200 Wal-Mart gift certificate given by the Climax Volunteer Fire Department.

Shaun Lanier of Peach Tree City won the second beautiful Sew and Sew Quilters Swine Time quilt that was drawn for by the Climax Community Club.

A large crowd encircled the pen where the pig chase was held late Saturday. The winners were Dalton Battensby, Kine White, Cameron Curry, Jessica Harley, Jaylon Randall, Andres Austinson, Ebram Austinson, Dillon Hall and Key Shawn Cooper.