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Pig Out off to cool start

The first day of Pig Out in the Park turned into Chill Out in the Park as Wednesday’s unseasonably cool temperatures and some showers put a shiver in Spokane’s annual celebration of all things calorie-laden.

No one waited in line for ice cold Pepsi during the noontime rush. Ditto for the giant ice-filled vats of lemonade.

And Arlyse Lorimor wasn’t exactly working up a sweat, either. The 17-year-old Spokane girl staffed the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream booth, standing in the cool air handing out waffle cone samples and trying to drum up business. Goose bumps dotted her arms, but she kept smiling.

“We haven’t had a lot of people,” Lorimor said. “But it’s better than Hoopfest. It was so hot.”

Plus, the first day was a good time to be slow, she said. She and her co-workers had plenty of time to churn out a mountain of waffle cones.

Pig Out organizers extended this year’s Riverfront Park festivities to six days, giving plenty of people – many dressed in sweat shirts and windbreakers – an extra chance to gobble Asian noodles, brick-sized mounds of French fries, sausage sandwiches, chocolate-dipped cheesecake and hundreds of other foods from about 50 vendors.

More than 60 musical acts will take the stage during the event, from punk rock to blues to folk.

But it wouldn’t be called Pig Out without the food. And there’s lots of it. Sweet foods. Salty foods. Spicy foods. Hot foods. Cold foods. You can get a heaping plate of chicken and ribs for $8 or a kiddie-sized cheese quesadilla for $1. You’ll see men in business suits blotting grease off their ties and toddlers waving half-eaten pieces of pizza like flags.

Basically, though, there are two types of Pig Out visitors: Those who get the same thing year after year and those who search out new food finds.

Eurekus Carney, of Spokane, resides firmly in the former group. Carney, taking a lunch break with his 11-year-old son, Eurekus Jr., waited in a long line Wednesday for one of the ever-popular Eldon’s Original New York Style Italian Sausage sandwiches.

Carney has bought one of the sausages just about every year for the past six years, he says.

“Some spicy mustard and some ketchup, the only way to get heartburn for the day,” Carney said.

The younger Carney, however, was waiting for his dad to take him to get Chinese food.

Friends Sue Horton and Pam DeCounter, who have been coming to Pig Out for years, decided to try something new this time around – pulled pork sandwiches topped with coleslaw from Clinkerdagger.

“When you work downtown, you should be down here,” DeCounter said, finishing her pea salad.

Even though it felt more like mid-October than late August, Gary Stinnett had no worries about staying warm. As co-owner of the Lazy Pig barbecue from the Tri-Cities, all Stinnett has to do is stand near his 17-foot grill/smoker for a blast of heat. The mammoth coal-black appliance is big enough to cook 400 chickens, he says. Or keep dozens of visitors nice and toasty.

“No matter where we go,” said Stinnett, who hauls the trailer to fairs around the country, “we have some people who try to do that.”

But it looks like it won’t be necessary to huddle around the barbecue for the rest of Pig Out. Temperatures are supposed to climb as the weekend nears, with highs about 90 predicted for Sunday.

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