By Ken de la Bastide Kokomo Tribune
---- — TIPTON — There will be noticeable changes during the 45th Tipton County Pork Festival which will kick off three days of celebrating the county’s pork industry on Sept. 5.
The festival will take place in downtown Tipton from Thursday through Saturday and at the Tipton City Park.
Rain the past two years has dampened attendance and revenues for the annual festival, forcing organizers to dip into reserve funds.
This year, the Tipton County commissioners and city of Tipton approved a one-time grant of $10,000 in Economic Development Income Tax revenues to market the festival.
“We lost $29,000 over the past three years,” Brett Curnutt, chairman of the festival, said. “That wiped out our reserves. We are looking to rebuild the reserves through revenues through the pork tent and carnival rides.”
A new attraction will be a portable zip line, on which patrons can soar above the southeast portion of the festival grounds.
Curnutt said the zip line will be 53 feet above the festival starting from the parking lot to the north of the library and ending at the southwest corner of the Tipton County Courthouse. The zip line will extend across Court Street.
“We believe this will be a hit,” he said. “(Festival mascot) Pork Boy will take the first zip line ride.”
Zip line rides will cost $10.
Headlining the entertainment at the Pork Festival will be the Hunter Smith Band at 8 p.m. Saturday on the main stage. Hunter Smith played for the Indianapolis Colts as a punter from 1999 through 2008 and was a member of the 2006 Super Bowl champion team.
The Hunter Smith Band plays a mix of country and rock music.
Country singer Doug Stone is the featured act at the festival on Friday.
The Pork Festival begins at 5 p.m. Thursday and includes the Kick-off Parade at 5:30 p.m. and the crowning of the Festival Queen.
Activities begin at 11 a.m. Friday with the serving of the famous 1-inch thick pork chops.
Saturday events include Porky’s Car Show at the city park, baby contest at 11 a.m. and the grand parade at 2 p.m. with Royce Jones as the grand marshal.
Added to the festival this year is the “Pork Court” which will offer up pork chops, ribs, pulled pork and other pork dishes.
Curnutt said all the pork is being purchased locally.