Labadie Pig Gig will return to Bay City in July, albeit with a new name

BAY Metropolis, MI — There’s an expression: You just can’t set lipstick on a pig.

But Jay Samborn hopes he can transform an outdated “pig” into a thing new in Bay Town this July.

A fixture at the Labadie Pig Gig celebration that captivated up to 50,000 attendees every year from 1992 to 2012, Samborn claimed he ideas to revive the beloved Bay Metropolis summertime staple, albeit less than a different name.

The Labadie Rib Fest will feature most of the exact same components as the aged Pig Gig, which includes food stuff served by award-successful BBQ restaurant vendors from across the U.S., prime tunes functions, and children’s activities.

The new four-working day competition — scheduled Thursday to Sunday, July 28-31 — will retain the outdated event’s ticket price tag structure and location in Veterans Memorial Park in Bay Town.

“The Pig Gig was one of all those functions that every person appeared ahead to,” explained Samborn, co-owner of Bay City Exciting LLC. “If you have been from the space, it was a little something you seemed forward to 4 months right after the Bay City fireworks every single yr. Right after these past handful of several years, persons are just prepared for this yet again.”

Samborn was included in the Pig Gig, supporting to manage new music acts and MCs for the festival’s functions. For the Labadie Rib Fest, though, he will acquire a direct job as an celebration organizer along with his company’s co-operator, Joel Tacey.

Samborn claimed he is enlisting plenty more aid, together with a expert who is the son of 1 of the Pig Fest’s co-founders. The late Monthly bill Wall — better known by barbecue buffs as “Billy Bones” — and Wendy Dore served identified the Pig Gig in 1992. Wall’s son — who shares his late father’s title and owns the award-successful Midland restaurant Bone Daddy’s Barbecue — is encouraging Samborn put together for this July’s event.

Whilst he hoped to capture the magic of the Pig Gig, Samborn mentioned he desired to leave its legacy to Dore and some others by providing the new occasion a new title.

“The Rib Fest is going to be extremely familiar to people who keep in mind the Pig Gig,” Samborn mentioned. “We preferred to be respectful of the past function. We’re just on the lookout ahead to finding up in which they still left off.”

While Dore is not concerned in the Labadie Rib Fest, a lot of aged-faculty powering-the-scenes holdovers signed up for the 2022 festivities, Samborn reported.

For case in point, the title sponsor from the Pig Gig — Labadie Vehicle Co. in Bay Town — also will provide as the title sponsor of the Rib Fest.

“Everyone I’ve approached to be portion of this has been extremely supportive,” Samborn stated.

As with the Pig Gig, Rib Fest proceeds will profit charities and nonprofits, he mentioned.

Tickets will cost $10 in advance and $12 at the gate, with small children 12 and beneath acquiring absolutely free admission.

Record of the Pig Gig

The late Wall, who died in 2014, conceived of the notion for the Pig Gig. With Dore’s enable, he recruited numerous of the prime-notch cafe suppliers that served start the party 30 yrs ago.

“I was familiar with the summer months circuit (for barbecue competitions), and I knew wherever the circuit went,” Wall told The Bay Town Periods/MLive in 2013.

“I reported, ‘Wendy, if you can work it in (late summer time), I can get some stellar exhibitors.’ The 1st 4 a long time, we experienced some globe champions coming right here, competing. We got all around to a superior commence.”

About four to five suppliers arrived during the first calendar year, with an attendance of about 2,000 people today. As the function gained steam, it captivated as a great deal as 16 distributors and 50,000 people.

Major-notch musicians these as Toby Keith booked the gig. Organizers said the group never ever acquired greater than in 2012, when previous “American Idol” winner Scotty McCreery executed.

Dore in 2013 told The Bay City Moments that she resolved to conclude the Pig Gig in section for the reason that the pageant surpassed her personalized target of accumulating $1 million for its numerous charities over the decades.


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