Anatomy of a Fundraiser

The 2010 Labadie Pig Gig Presented by State Farm

    icon Jun 15, 2010
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“The life of a man consists not in seeing visions and dreaming dreams, but in active charity and in willing service.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (19th Century American Poet)       


As with any major event that impacts a community, The Labadie Pig Gig began its ascent into the conduits and consciousness of our area 18 years ago as a means to showcase world class rib competitors while raising serious levels of money for local charities.

This year 2010 Labadie Pig Gig presented by State Farm is wet to kick off August 5th – August 8th in Veteran’s Memorial Park in Bay City. Additionally, Covenant Health Care, Dow, and Muehlenbeck Distributing have joined with Labadie & State Farm and other key local sponsors to make sure that the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bay County and other area charities will have a strong weekend of fundraising.

As in past years, this Championship Rib Cook-Off is the setting for national competitors vying for the title of ‘The Best in The Midwest’ and welcomes rib champions both locally, around the country and even around the world, including the Aussom Aussie from Sydney, Australia. New competitors this year include 2 Fat Guys from Massillon, Ohio, BBQ Masters of Stockbridge, GA, and Smokin’ Joe’s from Mansfield, Ohio.

According to Wendy Dore, pivotal organizer behind the Pig Gig involved since its beginnings, what began 18 years ago as a relatively low-key ‘infant’ in the lexicon of summertime events in the area, has since evolved and grown to the extent that it has raised approximately $800,000 since its inception.

“Over 40 various charities in the last 18 years and hundreds, or possibly thousands, of people have benefited through the many charitable organizations that impact our Great Lakes Bay region.”

A partial list of charities benefiting from this remarkable event include Boys & Girls Clubs of Bay County, The Literacy Council, CORY Place, The Johnny Burke Children’s Foundation, Bay Area Women’s Center, Area 9 Special Olympics and Studio 23.

When asked to look back at the evolution of the Pig Gig over the years, are there specific highlights that stand out in Wendy’s mind that for her epitomize the significance of this event as a means of pulling communities together?

“First and foremost, it’s the warm family reunion type atmosphere that I feel every year is probably the easiest way to describe it,” reflects Wendy. “People comment to me how they see friends, neighbors, church members, old high school classmates, past co-workers, so in many ways this event functions like a large ‘community reunion’l”

While the Pig Gig is certainly focused upon satiating one’s appetite for a divergent range of fine barbecued ribs, another key component of its success and impact is centered upon the wide range of innovative family activities that it provides and develops, coupled with world-class live musical entertainment.

Always striving to evolve the event, this year will feature an exciting new addition called When Pigs Fly. “Each participating charity will be selling $10.00 raffle tickets that correspond to a numbered piggy,” explains Wendy. “And then on Sunday, August 8th at 5 PM, 1000 numbered plastic pigs will be dropped from a helicopter onto a targeted area in Veteran’s Memorial Park. The 3 pigs closest and the farthest away from our ‘pig’ pen’ will win cash prizes totaling $2,000.”

As for the entertainment lineup, the excitement begins on Thursday, Aug. 5th with Toys in the Attic, an Aerosmith Tribute band, which gives fans of such classic songs as Dream On and Walk This Way one of the few chances to hear them performed live and in a faithful manner to the originals (seeing as the actual band is not performing this summer, plagued by health problems.)

On Friday, Aug. 6th, 90’s Rock band Candlebox will be taking the stage to grace the audience with their many hits, including songs such as Far Behind, You, Cover Me and Don’t You; while Saturday, Aug. 7th will showcase Country Star Gloriana, who’s hits include Wild at Heart and Lead Me On, along with Taylor Hicks, an American singer who achieved fame in 2006 when he won the fifth season of American idol. Signed to Arista Records, his energetic stage performances have earned him a devout legion of fans that have been dubbed the ‘Soul Patrol’.

Closing out the live performances will be the incomparable Patty Smyth & Scandal, whose hits include Goodbye to You, Beat of a Heart, and Warrior. In the mid-80s, Smyth wrote the book on hard-edged rock ‘n roll from a female perspective, and dated such legends as punk musician Richard Hell. In 1997 she married former tennis star John McEnroe and presently live in New York City along with their six children. All performances are at 7:11 PM, with the exception of Saturday, which features shows at 6:00 & 7:11 PM and Sunday, with performances at 4:30 & 7:11 PM.

Saganing Eagles Landing Casino and Soaring Eagle Casino will again provide a covered area to meet and greet the entertainment and get an autograph.  Plus they will be hosting some fun games for everyone to win and this year they will also provide a booth during the daytime activities.

The Catholic Federal Credit Union 5K Race will be held on Saturday, August 7th as part of the event. It is a true test of commitment, not only to finish the race but to the charities as well.  The event is open to all runners and walkers.   “We are excited that this race is associated with the prestigious Crim Race in Flint,” notes Wendy.  “Many of our runners will use the Catholic Federal 5K race as a qualifier.   The race begins at Vets Park, travels along the Riverwalk and loops back to finish at the Labadie Pig Gig festival grounds in Veterans Memorial Park. It’s a great place to show your speed, endurance and your support of our local charities.”  L

Great Lakes Harley Davidson will once again sponsor the Teddy Bear Run to Covenant Health Care.  New stuffed animal or teddy bear donations can be dropped off at Great Lakes Harley Davidson on M-13 in Bay City.  These teddy bears and animals will be strapped on the motorcycles of a caring group of riders that will take them from Great Lakes Harley to Covenant HealthCare’s Pediatric Center.  Having a warm cuddly stuffed animal greet a sick or injured child is always a comfort; plus after the riders leave Covenant HealthCare they will ride back to the Labadie Pig Gig and park in Hog Heaven…. a special parking area for motorcycles.

The Labadie Pig Gig will again this year host a “Celebrity Rib Challenge” in which local media personalities compete against each other with their own “secret recipe” to win “The Best Celebrity Ribs” (an honor this writer was proud to have received four years ago!)

Proceeds generated during this competition will be donated to worthwhile charities in the area. The general public can try the ribs specially prepared by their favorite local celebrity and vote for their favorite.   The first 100 people voting will receive a special goody bag compliments of The Bay City Mall.

As with any event of this magnitude, the biggest challenge of pulling it together resides in the details. “Handling everything involved with the Pig Gig is definitely the largest challenge,” notes Wendy. “From what time a vendor will be coming in, to what size space a rib competitor needs, to how many rooms the talent will require, and making sure all sponsor needs are met, it takes a lot of volunteers and staff to assure even the smallest detail is taken care of. The only other challenge is Mother Nature. I just say my prayers for good weather!”

“This event would not be able to be held without the support of all of our sponsors, especially The Labadie Company, State Farm, Covenant HealthCare, Dow Chemical and Meuhlenbeck Distributing. There are many other great sponsors that all contribute as well, and we ask people to support the sponsors that support our community events.”

Increasing their sponsorship involvement this year is Dow Chemical.   “Dow is one of our premier sponsors this year and in addition to hosting the Dow Family Stage; they will also be providing the business community with a fun evening at the Dow Chemical Chamber Hospitality Tent on Thursday, August 5th,” notes Wendy.  “Chamber of Commerce members from Bay City, Saginaw, Midland and Mt. Pleasant will receive free admission courtesy of Dow Chemical.  Chamber members will receive their invitations through their Chamber mailings.”

Advance tickets again will be only $5.00. 

“We are doing two things to keep the price affordable for families,” explains Wendy. “The first – Kids 12 and under are FREE and we feel this is a great way to keep your kids happy for the weekend.  Second – we will be offering the advance discount of HALF PRICE tickets through August 3rd for only $5.00.  Daily admission at the gate will still only be $10.00.  Weekend passes are only $18.00!   Tickets are on sale at both Labadie locations, participating State Farm agencies and on-line at”           

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