kiss pig winefest

Sooey, a mini-pig, will be object of affection by two of four public figures as part of a fundraiser for the annual Winefest hosted by the Belgrade Community Library Foundation. Put money in the many jars around town to get your public official to pucker up.

Prominent public figures are prepared to pucker up at the first ever “Kiss the Pig” event to benefit the Belgrade Library on Sept. 20.

The spirited “Swinefest” contest will be part of this year’s “Winefest,” an annual fund-raiser hosted by the Belgrade Community Library Foundation.

Library Director Gale Bacon, who can’t help but point out how her last name is helping promote the “Kiss the Pig” contest, says the event is adding interest to the already popular fund-raiser featuring an evening of wine-tasting, music, and silent and live auctions.

Squaring off for the chance to “Kiss the Pig” are Central Valley Fire Chief Ron Lindroth and Belgrade Police Chief E.J. Clark in one contest, and Belgrade Schools Superintendent Godfrey Saunders and City Manager Ted Barkley in another.

Collection jars placed around town invite donors to vote with their dollars for the official they want to – literally – “Kiss the Pig” at the Winefest, which will be held Sept. 20 from 6-9 p.m. at the Belgrade Holiday Inn Express.

Good sports all, the four local notables have agreed to wear pink shirts and (for a short time) pig snouts, Bacon said. The costumes should make them more attractive to Sooey, a 2-year-old black mini pig, who will be waiting in the parking lot for smooches from the winning contestants.

Sooey’s owner, Regan Love, has “graciously donated the pig’s time” to the cause, Bacon said. A professional photographer will be on hand to document the moments for posterity.

Bacon said the event is being promoted “all in fun,” but the money raised will be used to purchase library materials for children and teens and for additional programming not covered in the library’s budget.

If “Kiss the Pig” proves to be a success, it is likely to become an annual feature of the Winefest fund-raiser, Bacon added.

“It’s been lots of fun,” she said. “People have a strong reaction about who they want to vote for.”

Tickets for the “Winefest/Swinefest” can be purchased at the Belgrade Library for $30 apiece, or $50 for a couple. Tickets also will be available at the door the night of the event for $35 or $60 for two.

The Belgrade News did not attempt to contact Lindroth, Clark, Saunders or Barkley to assess their enthusiasm for smooching with Sooey.