brings out best in pig art
businesses get into the fun
by displaying their creations
For the past several years, visitors to the Madison Ribberfest
have viewed with curiosity the uniquely decorate concrete pigs that
adorn the walkways and lobbies of various businesses throughout town.
Those pigs are part of Pigmania, the serious fun
aspect of the Madison Ribberfest.
by Don Ward
Cline of Andersons Sales & Service
poses with her three little pigs painted
in the schemes of her stores main brands,
John Deere, Stihl and Honda.
Each year, businesses either adopt a pig for $100 or buy a pig for $200
and pay $25 per year to enter the Pigmania competition. Pigs are decorated
and then placed in front of businesses. While the pig-decorating contest
is a lighthearted way to publicize the festival, it is also a way to
raise scholarship money for local high school students interested in
an agricultural-related college major.
Before the annual festival, which is scheduled for Aug. 18-19 this year,
viewers can vote with money for their favorite hog by simply putting
money into a container placed by the pig or at the business sponsoring
the pig. Each dollar is a vote for that particular pig.
At festival time, the pigs are herded up and lined up along the riverfront
downtown. Voters can still vote with money, or they can use any leftover
Ribberfest coupons to cast their votes. Voting for this years
Pig of Choice will close at 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19. Prizes will be
awarded at 7 p.m., according to Pigmania chairman Kevin Watkins.
Last year, nearly 40 pigs were decorated and approximately $3,700 was
raised for scholarship funds. Watkins said a few more pigs will be seen
throughout town this year. He has 39 pigs entered in the contest.
He also explained there are actually two different competitions among
the pigs. One is a Peoples Choice contest in which
votes are given with money. The winner of that contest gets his name
on a trophy and gets to display the trophy at his business for a year.
Last year, the Local Harvest Market won the Peoples Choice award
and raised $325 by itself in scholarship funds.
The second contest is the Judges Pick. In this particular
competition, judges are randomly selected from the Ribberfest crowd
to choose their favorite pig.
Last year, Uther Pigdragon, a dragon-like pig with scales and horn decorated
by Jenna Watkins, took first place. Hilltop Animal Hospital sponsored
that pig. In second place was Hot Sauce, owned by Binzers Custom
Framing. Third place went to Mane Attractions hog, which sported
a big beehive hairdo.
Any local high school senior wishing to apply for scholarship funds
from Pigmania may pick up applications at his high school.
A committee of two Ribberfest officials and one representative from
each of the three local high schools will select recipients from the
applicants. Watkins said applicants need to submit a copy of transcripts,
a recommendation for the scholarship and a short essay on qualifications.
by Don Ward
Buchanan poses with the
headless Hula Hog, which suffered
an accident at MainSource Bank.
We are not necessarily looking for the straight-A
student but instead for the well-rounded person who is planning to study
in an agricultural related field, Watkins said.
Pigmania perilous work for some pig owners
Not all pigs in Pigmania survive the rigorous contest. Some are vandalized
and some have even been stolen while in display at area businesses.
Cindy Griffin, customer service representative for MainSource Bank in
downtown Madison, said the banks artistically decorated Hula
Hog has lost his head literally as the
result of the bank staffs attempts to avoid repeated vandalism.
The pig sat outside and kept having its decorations stolen, so the bank
staff started moving the pig in and out of the building at the close
of each business day by setting the pig on a wheeled cart. But alas,
the porcine creature lost its head one day when the banks Maridith
Buchanan was pushing the cart. The head broke off at the neck, leaving
the bank with a two-piece Hula Hog.
According to Griffin, the pig had what witnesses called a seemingly
slight accident and was knocked over. No one thought the festive
fellow had suffered injury until Hulas head hit the floor. One
wild theory has circulated that in actuality, the hog had suffered from
heat exhaustion prior to the accident and that it is the first heat
related casualty the town has suffered during a recent heat wave.
The poor, hapless hog is now lying in state in the bank lobby. A small
funeral service for the shrouded swine has been conducted and an ode
has been dedicated to the pitiable pig. Visitors may still come and
vote posthumously for the beheaded boar.
At least MainSource Bank still has its headless hog. Other businesses
have experienced all out theft of their concrete critters.
Andersons Sales & Service in the Madison hilltop had two pigs
stolen one night an event captured on the companys
video surveillance camera. But the theft occurred when the business
was undergoing some construction, so the outside lights were not illuminated
to better capture the illegal activities, said Andersons Tonia
The company had bought rather than rented its three
little pigs because it had painted them in the companys top three
brand name products John Deere, Honda and Stihl. The Pigmania
committee has replaced the two stolen pigs this year, and they were
repainted and are now safely on display inside Andersons sales
We watch these pigs pretty closely now, Cline said. They
arent going anywhere.
Back to 2006 Ribberfest