Column: Great to have Dew Days downtownThe biggest day of the year in Farmington is almost here. No, not Christmas or city-wide clean-up day, although those are close seconds. The most exciting annual event in Farmington is the Kiss the Pig contest. For one brief, shining moment, a Farmington dignitary smacks lips with a piglet in front of the entire town. The high school principal, a Lutheran minister, the fire chief or someone else of prominence wins the honor every year.
By: Mary Lebens, The Farmington Independent
The biggest day of the year in Farmington is almost here. No, not Christmas or city-wide clean-up day, although those are close seconds. The most exciting annual event in Farmington is the Kiss the Pig contest. For one brief, shining moment, a Farmington dignitary smacks lips with a piglet in front of the entire town. The high school principal, a Lutheran minister, the fire chief or someone else of prominence wins the honor every year.
When I tell people from outside our little hamlet about the pig kissing contest, they usually think I’m pulling their leg. Of all of the tidbits of Farmington lore that I get accused of lifting from Garrison Keillor, the Kiss the Pig contest tops the list. I look forward to it all spring, dropping coins into the cans on store countertops around town, voting for my pick for the winner.
Although the Kiss the Pig contest is my personal favorite event, the annual Dew Days celebration has a little something for all of our residents. There’s the Miss Farmington pageant for pretty young ladies, the pizza-eating contest for extremely hungry people, and the grand parade for everyone, hungry and pretty alike.
This year the Dew Days festival is back in Farmington’s historic downtown. Despite the varied venues in which the festival has been held in recent years, I wax nostalgic over the downtown backdrop for our city’s historic festival. The Exchange Bank building, the former Dueber’s department store and the Farmington Bakery form a constant background in many years of Dew Days pictures in my scrapbook.
Last week I visited family in the small town of Watertown, S.D. On Thursday nights in Watertown the main street downtown is blocked off, a portable stage is rolled out and a band plays for the whole town. This week’s band played classic grunge music, and despite the sweltering 90-degree heat, their enthusiasm for Stone Temple Pilots enveloped the crowd. Settling back into my folding chair, with condensation beading on my Diet Coke, I surveyed the scene. Preschoolers danced with grandparents, and teens mingled near the stage. A blind man bopped his head to the beat, and tapped his cane. The aluminum stage gleamed in the late evening sun. The Watertown city slogan was painted on the back of the stage, just above the drummer’s mane of shaggy brown hair. “Watertown, South Dakota’s Rising Star.” The words wavered in the heat rising from the pavement, and the big blue hanging over the guitarist shimmered.
For a moment, the similarity between this stage and the one at Dew Days struck me. Several years ago, seated on folding aluminum bleachers, my friends from work and I watched the Dew Days Battle of the Bands contestants perform on a stage just like the portable one in Watertown. A unique parallel exists between the two experiences, between two hot summer evenings spent in a small town. Bringing Dew Days back to downtown brings it back to the heart of Farmington, to the familiarity of the streets we know and love. May this year’s Kiss the Pig contest be the best ever. We’ll cherish the memory.