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Posted: 06/18/14

ART AND ORCHARD. At top, Gabe Fallon, first grader at Amanda Moore Elementary, and his sister Emma, preschooler at Croswell Elementary, volunteered to be cheerleaders at the finish line for the Hot Dog Pig Races. The crowd joins in with cheers and applause as the winner approaches. Above left, firefighters serve 'em hot at the 56th Annual Pancake Breakfast. Pictured from left, Ryan Wiseman, firefighter medic, Robert Schmelzer, Assistant Fire Chief and former Fire Chief Dan Last. Above right, appraiser Fred Fleming examines an early electric fireplace mantle lamp brought in by Washington Township resident Nick Grader at the Washington Historical Museum. Below, four-year-old Mason Pilotto, preschooler at Croswell Elementary, finds he has some growing to do before he can fit into an adult-sized firefighter's outfit. At bottom, Loren Andrus, portrayed by Bill Grandstaff, shows Nathan, left, and Alex Dulaney, right, of Washington Township how heavy a bushel of corn is, as he fills the basket during his presentation at the Octagon House.

(Observer photos by Judith Kimpan)

Art & Orchard small but
successful with pig races

Observer Special Writer
      Washington Township went "hog wild" June 13-15 at the 5th Annual Art and Orchard Festival.
       The festvial, held mainly at the Washington Township Municipal Building on Van Dyke, had perfect weather for a weekend festival, but coordinators say there was a slight decline in attendnace compared to prior years.
       Clara Russell, Parks and Recreation director, said the festival didn't include a carnival this year, and combined with the Father's Day holiday may have caused fewer families to attend.
       "I think that what we had was quality, but it's really hard when you don't have something big to tie it all together," Russell said.
       Even so, the festival still drew in crowds, such as the Hot Dog Pig Race Show, where squeals were heard from pigs over squeals of laughter the pigs' behavior generated.
       "The races were a huge success," Russell said. "If we had too many more people, they wouldn't be able to see the races."
       A loud bugle announced the start of the Hot Dog Pig Races. Teams of four 6-week-old pigs raced around a track complete with an obstacle course.
       The first team, the Hollywood team, sported names like Brad BBQ Pitt or Jerry Swinefeld. Another team called Ladies of the Pop Chart "sang, danced and hurdled" their way down the track with members like Piggy Minaj and Porky Perry.
       There were barks after the squeals as miniature dachshunds dressed as hot dogs also ran the course.
       Chase Miller, 4, a kindergartener at Hamilton-Parsons Elementary School, volunteered to be a race cheerleader. He asked his parents if they could get a dog after his duties were completed.
       "It was really fun," said his father, Barry Miller, of Washington Township.
       Before the races, folks pigged out at the pancake breakfast cooked by the Washington Fire Department or stopped by the Washington Lions Club for a grilled chicken or pulled pork dinner.
       Many fathers began their celebration of their special day by attending the 56th Annual Pancake Breakfast. Fresh pork sausage was served, and when finished you could see some fresher pork speeding past at the Hot Dog Pig Races. Firefighters served hot pancakes fresh off the grill and Becky Hopp, director for Romeo-Washington-Bruce Senior Centers, knew the breakfast was a success when more supplies needed to be purchased before the breakfast was over.
       Russell said about 500 people had breakfast during the annual meal, which is on par with previous years.
       Next door at the Octagon House, Romeo resident Bill Grandstaff drew the audience in as he portrayed Loren Andrus, original owner of the Octagon House.
       Hostas, lilies and irises were among some of the varieties sold at the orphan plant sale at the Washington Historical Museum. The public brought antiques to be appraised for a small fee.
       Jacquelin Cook-Beiter liked the races so well she saw them twice. She also came to the breakfast as she has for the past 20 years. After partaking of the Lions Club grilled chicken dinner, she met with friends to listen to the music provided on Saturday and stayed for the fireworks show.
       "I want to promote this event so people come out and support our community, and we'll keep having these events in the future for our kids to enjoy," Cook-Beiter said.
       Observer Staff Writer Chris Gray contributed to this story.

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