Small crowd fails to derail Pork Fest spirit

Published 8:38 am Tuesday, June 23, 2009

ST. JOHN – The crowd wasn’t as large as years past, but the food, fun and hospitality remained unchanged.

All the finances have been accounted for and, by all accounts, the St. John Fire Department (SJFD) didn’t lose money during their fifth annual Pork Fest held recently at Tri-County Airport.

“We broke just a little bit better than even,” SJFD Chief Wesley Liverman said. “We had a feeling going in that this year would be off a bit, with the way the economy is right now. We were right as the crowd wasn’t as large as we’ve had in the past, but that didn’t stop us from what we do every year and that’s to make sure everyone is well fed and has a good time.”

Liverman said 577 tickets were sold, down by roughly 150 from years past.

“We talked about not having the Pork Fest this year due to the bad economy, but in the end we decided not to break the momentum built in each of the four previous years,” Liverman said. “I think we’ve got a good thing going with our Pork Fest and we’ve already began talking about next year’s event.”

Following that tradition, SJFD members next year will fire-up their cookers and grill 10 pigs to perfection. That cooked pork will then be chopped, seasoned and served with potatoes, slaw and corn sticks.

The 2009 event featured another tradition as the popular Band of Oz performed to the delight of the crowd. Prior to the band taking the stage, local DJ Jay Jenkins, he of “Shagging on the Beach” fame on WDLZ-FM, got the crowd warmed-up with his array of music.

Another crowd-pleaser at Pork Fest was the SJFD’s annual display of fireworks.

Liverman said Pork Fest served as the department’s main fundraiser of the year, providing about one-third of its overall budget.

He said SJFD operates on a $50,000 annual budget. Nearly one-half ($23,124) of that amount comes from Hertford County government.

Liverman closed by thanking the sponsors of the 2009 Pork Fest. They included:

Tri-County Airport

St. John’s Karts and Kawasaki

Ricky’s Corner Shop

Freeman Metal Products

Jernigan Oil Co.

Ag Carolina Finance

CPS Crop Production

McCaskey Farms


US Cellular

EZ Page

Southern Bank

Lee Joyner Trucking

Jay Jenkins/WDLZ

Coastal Agri Business

Preston Wood Homes

Lassiter Portable Toilets

Liverman’s Recycling

“And I would be remiss if I left out those who purchased tickets and came out on a great evening to support us,” Liverman said.