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Concert, food offerings grow at Pig Out in the Park

WEDNESDAY, AUG. 29, 2012, 3:45 P.M.

Barbara Towey knows most people don’t go to food fairs and outdoor concerts for the fruit.

But that hasn’t stopped her from offering a healthier substitute to the fried Twinkies and bacon cupcakes so often found at those events.

The Seattle resident and her husband, a former minor-league baseball player, created Shishkaberry’s in 1998 and now travel the West selling strawberries, pineapple and banana shish kabobs covered in chocolate.

“People like us because we’re so high-quality,” Towey said.

Towey and her mobile Shishkaberry stand—a mini house on wheels nicknamed the Shishkashack—are making their fourth appearance this week at the 33rd-annual Spokane Pig Out in the Park.

The event began Tuesday and runs 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day through Sunday at Riverfront Park. Musical entertainment will continue until 11 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

For Towey, the event is a chance to stretch her business east. She and her husband also have a Shishkaberry’s concession stand at Safeco Field in Seattle. She said the fruit snack doesn’t likely amount to as much profit as other fair food stands, but their product is still popular for its uniqueness.

“It’s very fresh and we dip every berry individually,” she said.

Pig Out founder and organizer Bill Burke said upward of 95,000 people will visit Riverfront Park for the event this week.

The total of 54 food vendors this year is up just one from last year, Burke said, but the event is growing rapidly in its entertainment offerings.

Last year’s event, he said, featured 25 music artists. This year — 100.

“We’ve had over 1,400 different acts approach us to play Pig Out in the Park,” Burke said. “They call every day. I have people come to my front door and they’ll audition on my front steps.”

The most popular act this year, he said, is The Yardbirds, a 1960’s bluegrass band that once included Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992. Two of the five people performing at the Pig Out are original members of the band, Burke said.

The Yardbirds will perform at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday.

“With the weather as it is, at 80 degrees, we’ll be packed,” Burke said.

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