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Q and A: Kiss the Pig winner puckered up for a good cause

Tim Vanderlinde won a close competition for the honor of kissing a pig Saturday at Dew Days. The annual event raised nearly $700 for the Rambling River Center.

A member of the Farmington Fire Department and a Dakota Electric employee, Tim Vanderlinde was crowned as the 2011 Kiss the Pig winner Saturday.

It wasn't as bad an experience as he thought it might be, but Vanderlinde's still not sure why he was asked to be a contestant. Once he was named the winner, though, he stepped right up to the challenge and gave the crowd a good laugh at the same time.

Kiss the Pig has been a mainstage attraction at Farmington's city celebrations for at least a decade. All of the proceeds from Kiss the Pig go to the Rambling River Center. This year, the contest raised nearly $700.

And that seems to make this year's pig kisser pleased that he said yes to being a contestant. We talked to him about his experience this week.

How is it that you wound up as a Kiss the Pig contestant?

I just answered my phone, I guess. They just called me out of the blue, as far as I know.

Why you?

I have no idea. I don't really know. Missie Kohlbeck just called and asked if I would do it and I said yes. Bad luck, I guess you'd say.

Once you were signed up, how good did you think your odds were?

I didn't think I'd win, until my boss at Dakota Electric sent around an email saying that I was in it and that she had set up a collection jar out in the front area.

When you would see the cans around town, did you peek in to see how much money was in those?

Yeah, I looked at a couple of them. I didn't really see that many around town when I was out and about, but I always looked. It was always kind of ... looked like there was even amounts in them so that wasn't too bad of a feeling.

Thought you might skate by?


Were you nervous for the contest Saturday night?

Not really. It wasn't that bad to kiss the pig.

I know they asked you questions. What was the question that you were asked?

If I was more of a snout or a tail person.

And your reply?


When you were sitting up there and you opened up that envelope and learned that you won, what was your first thought?

I don't think you can probably publish that. Oh no.

You puckered up pretty fast. How was that magic moment?

It was actually kind of dry. They kind of cleaned it up pretty good and it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be.

What did you do with your crown and your sash?

I gave the crown back and I don't know what I did with the sash. I think my wife has it still somewhere. I'll have to wear it again next year when I try to win again.

I don't think there has ever been a two-year winner.

Let's keep it that way.

So you don't want to be the first?

Not really. At least next year I know what to look forward to.

Are you glad that you agreed to be a contestant?

Yeah, it was good that we raised almost $700 for the senior center. And it was nice, that the little Miss Farmington or whatever, that she kissed the pig, too. When she brought over the envelope, I told her if I win you have to kiss it too. She really didn't know what to say about that so she said okay and then she came over and gave it a kiss, too.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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