October 8, 2008
Fall Feral Hawg Fest Calls for Hawg Queen Contest Entries
BEN WHEELER—Here’s an opportunity that’s too good for some people to pass up. It’s the opportunity to be known as, and to reign as, “Feral Hawg Queen” for a whole year.
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For everybody else, the Fall Feral Hawg Fest on October 25 in Ben Wheeler offers a full day of frolicking fun. Activities include a 10 a.m. parade, the 11 a.m. queen pageant, a wild hog barbecue cook-off ending at noon, and other food and entertainment including live music, exhibits, and concessions until 5 p.m. Contests throughout the afternoon for adults and children include team hog dressing, hog races, lipstick-on-a-pig and pig chases. A kiddie pen area offers lots of fun activities for children. There will also be demonstrations of hog traps, saw mills, sugar curing, pig skin crackling, and exhibits from Texas Parks & Wildlife and East Texas Gators & Wildlife Park.
From 7-10 p.m., the adults-only Feral Hawg Ball encourages attendees to dress in anything from ball gowns and tuxes to pig farming attire with wild hog or pig-themed masks or accessories.
Feral (wild) hogs are a problem in Van Zandt County, much of Texas, and North America with an estimated two million – half of the continent’s total population – in the state. The omnivores – they eat plants and other animals –are a multi-million-dollar problem because they can disrupt both livestock and farming operations by damaging facilities and fences, and trampling and eating crops. They also are popular table fare and, in some areas, compete with the white-tailed deer as the most popular animal to hunt.
At one time, there was a bounty on the intelligent, prolifically reproducing hogs in Van Zandt County. While the problem remains, the budget does not; in one month a few years ago, the county paid bounties of nearly $4,000.
Within that spirit, hawg queen candidates will be judged on stage in attire appropriate to the event and season. Props, costumes, special clothing, and makeup are acceptable. One winner and one runner-up will be selected based on a total package including appearance, poise, personality, and knowledge of feral hogs.
The pageant is open to both male and female contestants at least 18 years of age who live in Van Zandt County. The winner must be available to ride on the parade float, reign as Ben Wheeler Feral Hawg Queen for one year, and represent Ben Wheeler in community events, parades, grand openings, and other events.
Pageant applications can be obtained from Kathy Kendrick at
or at the Ben Wheeler Development Company (BWDC) which is next door to the Ben Wheeler post office on Highway 64.
The festival is scheduled in downtown Ben Wheeler. BWDC is returning the southern Van Zandt County community to the way it looked in 1935 and bringing new businesses and a new attitude to the area. The project will take at least three years – probably longer – to recapture the old-fashioned atmosphere with an even longer timeline for some projects. In a community with a thousand or so nearby residents, there will be new restaurants, new shops, music venues, a fully restored downtown park complete with gazebos, a classic car museum and motorcycle hall of fame, and more.
For more information about the Fall Feral Hawg Festival call 903.833.1070.
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