The way to the heart of a community, to reuse an old axiom, goes through its stomach. This is probably why Pig Out in the Park is not only celebrating its 38th year as a festival, but its 10th year of being ranked as Spokane’s premier food and music event, earning it a spot in the Best Of Hall. of Fame.
Bill Burke has been running the popular food festival since its inception, when he “stole great ideas” from cities across the country and brought them together into one affordable event.
Meanwhile, he’s seen Pig Out go from a small-scale festival featuring local restaurants to the six-day orgy of food and entertainment it is today, with recognizable headliners. like John Mayall and Bo Diddley, specialty vendors from across the region. , and what Burke cites as “an economic impact of $ 4.5 million to $ 4.8 million for Spokane each year.”
“Pig Out has really become a big party now,” he says. “It’s exciting, it’s fun. Last year 110,000 people attended. We had more food sales than ever. It’s amazing how many people continue to join the Pig fanbase. Out. We hired nearly 2,000 groups and donated [the music] to everyone for free. And that’s the original premise of what Pig Out was: a big free music festival. “
Along with musical trends, he has also seen gastronomic fashions change over the decades:
“For a while, everything was Asian: Asian hot dogs, teriyaki. Then everyone wanted to serve the cheesesteak sandwich. Then everyone wanted to make gyros. Frying everything was another trend. Fried Snickers to Twinkies to cherry pies, everything got fried. And, my word, bacon has become popular. You can wrap anything in bacon and people will hollow it out. “
Yet despite – or perhaps because of – its continued growth and changing culinary trends, Burke says Pig Out in the Park has become an immutable feast on the city’s summer calendar.
“Everyone tells me they’re coming back because it’s the end of summer party in Spokane. That’s the big deal,” he said. “I now meet people who are in their thirties, and they come to me and say, ‘I remember when my mom and dad would take me to Pig Out. “We’ve seen generations now. I’m now taking care of the kids and grandchildren of the vendors I started Pig Out with. It’s kinda weird.”
2nd PLACE: Epicurean delight; 3rd PLACE: Restaurant wars