Pig Roast a Hampton Tradition

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Event Close to Sell Out

By Liz Premo

Hampton Union, Tuesday, September 4, 2012

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online]

Cliff Pratt and Chuck Weinhold carve the pig, while Historical Society President Ben Moore and volunteer Bob Fuller look on. [Liz Premo photo]

HAMPTON -- Members of the Hampton Historical Society's board of directors have declared Saturday's 11th annual Pig Roast fund-raiser a record-breaking success.

"This year has been outstanding," said HHS President Ben Moore, adding that advance ticket sales reached close to 300 in the days prior to the Sept. 1 event. "We're pretty well sold out."

The well-attended pig roast is the society's major fund-raising event each year, and includes a 50/50 raffle, silent auction, musical entertainment, games, face painting and a roast pork dinner with all the trimmings.

"It has become very much a Hampton community event," said board member Elizabeth Aykroyd, as guests gathered on the grounds of the Tuck Museum under beautiful blue skies, and "Miss Piggy" made the rounds wearing a pink feather boa.

Besides the efforts of a core group of dedicated volunteers and generous support offered by a number of donor businesses, the pig roast was again made possible by event sponsor, The Provident Bank.

"We appreciate that The Provident Bank stepped forward a few years ago to be our major sponsor of this event," said Betty Moore, the executive director of the Tuck Museum.

This year's pig roast was dedicated to the late Catherine Fletcher, a beloved HHS board member who died on Feb. 10 of this year, at age 83.

Fletcher, who lived in Virginia prior to becoming a Hampton resident, was the person who first pitched the pig roast fund-raising idea to her fellow members on the board of trustees a dozen years ago.

She was remembered in heartfelt comments shared by board secretary Sammi Moe, who recalled how Fletcher was involved with fundraising, membership, publicity and other society-related efforts.

"Catherine cherished this event, and in true Southern-style hospitality loved visiting with everyone as if they were at her home," she said, calling Fletcher "the grand dame" of the board of trustees

Fletcher was instrumental in organizing the pig roast from its earliest years, Moe said, from overseeing the entire event at its inception to selling tickets and providing publicity in later years in the midst of her declining health.

"Each year she encouraged and pushed us to work harder and to do better than the year before," said Moe.

Organizers took heed, and the results speak for themselves.

"The first pig roast was successful, and it has grown every year ever since," acknowledged Aykroyd. "Her vision was certainly correct."

It has also become a well-orchestrated effort on the part of those who invest their time and talent in hosting this signature community event year after year.

"Over 80 people volunteer in some fashion — setting up, serving, baking, cooking the pigs, or working on the silent auction," said Betty Moore.

Those who attend the pig roast as guests find it an enjoyable time that's well-spent with family and friends.

"It's splendiferous," said the Rev. Deb Knowlton of the First Congregational Church. "It's a wonderful way to meet new neighbors, (with) great music and the best pig ever!"

"I love everything," said Tom Travers, who has attended all but one of the Historical Society's pig roasts. "Everything is good and the people are all awesome."

"I like the variety," added his wife Joanne, who brought her sister Maryann, brother-in-law Jim and niece Tanya from Ayer, Mass.

"The pig and the desserts were outstanding," said Lynn Goodman, who had received two tickets to the event as a birthday gift. "And there's lots and lots of things for the silent auction."

The auction and a "buy it now" table together raised close to $4,000 for the Historical Society. Featured items were donated by local businesses and individuals, and included tickets for JetBlue Airways, a bright pink fondant-covered pig cake by Simply Delicious Cakes, and a hand-crafted beanpot from Great Bay Pottery.

"We are so grateful to those who donate food and auction items," said Betty Moore, giving a nod to the various restaurants that provide the salads and side dishes.

Moore emphasized the importance of the success of the annual pig roast in keeping the Tuck Museum operational and well maintained, both inside and out.

"I don't think that the general public is aware that the museum is all volunteer and receives no public funding, and even with that, membership dues and donations cover about 35 percent of our operating costs," she said. "So events like this make up the difference, and we work hard to make sure that we spend our money wisely."

"It's fundraising with a sense of community," said Ben Moore, "and a nice Labor Day tradition. Everyone gets together to chat and enjoy, and a good time is had by all."

Memberships to the Hampton Historical Society are always welcomed and a form is available at www.hamptonhistoricalsociety.org. Located on Park Avenue in Hampton, the Tuck Museum is open to the public on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1-4 p.m. and admission is free. For more information call 929-0781.

The Hansen twins of Hampton with pig cupcakes they made at home and brought to the Hampton Historical Society's Pig Roast on Saturday. [Liz Premo photo]

Members of the Hampton Historical Society line up on both sides of the serving table during the annual Southern Style Pig Roast fund-raiser Saturday at Tuck Museum. [Liz Premo photo]
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