Five bucks buys you a pig. But you have to catch it first

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Kids give chase in the highly entertaining Pig Catch
Photo courtesy of Hylo/Venice Days organizers

Hylo Harvest Days a throwback to simpler times

JOANNE ELVES

LAC LA BICHE, AB - They know how to kick back and have good, clean fun and get-in-the-muck fun at the Hylo/Venice Harvest Days southwest of Lac La Biche.  Any time you add a pig to the mix, there’s got to be some muck.

The population of the little hamlet quadruples every third weekend of August for the annual harvest festival. Historically, everyone in the county would come in for the day to celebrate the season and to show off the bounty of their farms and gardens. That, of course, still happens Friday afternoon. The horticultural society takes over the curling rink where tables are full of the county’s best baking, photography, crafts and floral arrangements. The day finishes with a big pot luck dinner.

Pancakes, parade and pomp

Saturday morning the action starts early with a pancake breakfast to stick to your ribs until parade time. Be sure to bring lawn chairs to sit along on the curb, where the kids can jump up quickly to catch the candies as they are thrown from the floats as they go by.  If you’d rather be part of the parade, you’re welcome to enter your float or decorate your bikes, wagons or quads. Just sign up - and bring candy.

If you’ve got a lawn tractor bring it along. While the kids are at the petting zoo and pony rides, you can enter the lawn tractor obstacle course competition. There are cash prizes for the top three times.

All afternoon there are children’s races and bingo games for those that are not in the King and Queen of Hylo competition.

Yes, you read that right - King and Queen. But this isn’t a beauty contest as Shauna Hannin of Hylo explains.

“The King and Queen competition is actually quite a crowd pleaser because it’s a test of skills. There are four tests and each year we change up a few to keep the contestants on their toes.”

There’s a pillow fight with the contestants standing on a tree stump. The bale toss is always a show of strength. Then there is the watermelon-eating contest where judges can't decide if the winner is the one who ate the most or made the biggest mess. The final test last year was to fly a remote control helicopter through a course to land on a target. That’s not easy when you are under pressure to win the crown. By the end of the contest the new king and queen are pretty proud to be wearing the crown and royal robe.


Last year's king and queen adorned in the royal crown and robe.
Photo courtesy of Hylo/Venice Days organizers

Here piggy, piggy, pig

This is your chance to bring home the bacon. The weekend’s main is the Pig Catch.

Each year, at least 60 people of all ages eagerly slap five loonies on the table with hopes of winning the coveted porkers. Small children just have to touch the little piggies to win. By the time adults move into the ring the pigs are up to 60 pounds and that's when the action gets wild.

Hannin laughs as she tries to explain the commotion.

"Ah...it's hard to describe the scene. Let's just say that most of the time the pigs are smarter than the chasers. You have to see it for yourself."

The Hylo/Venice Harvest Days is home grown entertainment - a throwback to simpler times and worth the visit. Especially if you catch the pig.

The details:

To enter the contests or the parade contact Shauna @780-623-2164

Also ask about camping, which  is available for the weekend.

For details on more events during the Hylo/Venice Harvest Days, visit the festival overview page.

 

There is lots in store for you this summer when you “Take it to the Lake”, learn more by visiting their tourism website.