Swine Time returns to Climax

CLIMAX -- Every year, the folks in Climax welcome thousands to their small community on U.S. Highway 84 east of Bainbridge to celebrate one of the region's most popular farm animals -- the pig.

But when the Swine Time parade starts at 10 a.m. Saturday, it will include a reminder that the freedom -- including the freedom to celebrate festivities -- comes at a price.

The parade won't have a grand marshal. It will have 15 U.S. flags in its stead -- a tribute to area military veterans in all wars who lost their lives for their nation.

"This year instead of a grand marshal, we're having a dedication to our fallen soldiers," Fannie Wells, who works with the annual quilt fundraiser project at the festival, said. "We're going to have 15 big flags on the float and names of the deceased with them."

After the parade, the Swine Time Community Club, which sponsors the festival, will auction the handmade quilt that the 85-year-old Wells helped make as the festival itself gets under way at the Climax Community Club Grounds.

There's all-day music and entertainment, arts and crafts booths and food. Wells and her fellow quilters demonstrate their quilting skills for visitors.

"We'll have all kinds of contests on the contest stage," she said. The contests and events include best-dressed pig, corn shucking, hog calling, eating chitterlings, pig racing, syrup making, baby crawling and the greased pig chase.

Chitterlings -- or chitlin's, as they are better known -- can be an acquired taste, but they're a popular draw at the festival.

A local church cooks the country delicacy up for the event. Wells says she's among those who grew up eating chitlin's.

"They back up in line to get them (at the festival)," she said. "I like them myself."

For those who can't wait for Saturday, Climax has some pre-festival events going Friday evening.

There's a $6 per plate Pilau dinner followed by a Grand Ole Opry style performance featuring local and area talent. The Opry has no admission charge, but donations are accepted.