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Pig out in the Park offers gastronomic bonanza – and a few surprises

UPDATED: Wed., Aug. 30, 2017, 9:33 p.m.

This is the second year that Pig Out in the Park has been held on the east end of Riverfront Park to escape the construction at the west end, but it hasn’t seemed to matter to those in search of their annual dose of deep-fried lasagna and bacon-wrapped hot dogs.

The annual festival of food fills the Clocktower Meadow, the Pavillion and the IMAX Meadow inside Riverfront Park. Plenty of seating is available for attendees who have come to sample the offerings from 44 food booths and enjoy free concerts on three stages.

Bella Morin at the Saucer Burgers and Planetary Pies booth has a prime spot on the Spokane River in the Clocktower Meadow. “I love it,” she said of the location. “I get to sit and look at the river. The breeze is nice, too. I think we lucked out.”

The biggest problem people have is deciding where to eat. One group was debating just that question as they walked through the park, eventually reaching a fork in the trail.

“Which way do we go?” asked one.

“Doesn’t matter. They’re all good,” was the reply.

It’s not just fried food on a stick. You can find all types of cuisine, including vegetarian options. In addition to the more traditional items, you can also find lobster mac and cheese and oysters.

Piggly’s Barbecue occupies a spot at the top of the hill in the Clocktower Meadow. It sits in the shade, but there’s a giant barbecue pit with beef roasting on a spit that puts out a lot of heat. Owner Zach Sawyers said it’s his third year at the festival. His first year was at the traditional Pig Out location on the west end of the park near City Hall.

“We’ve done better over here,” he said of his new spot. “It’s pretty easy loading and unloading.”

This year he also opened a new booth, the Oyster Bay. “We’re trying it out,” he said. “People like it.”

Andrew Haywood and Julie Esquibel stood in the shade of a tree Wednesday afternoon while they shared a funnel cake dessert. “It was probably a little easier on the other side,” Haywood said. “There’s more hills over here.”

But Haywood still wasn’t going to let any hills get in the way. Esquibel had fried ravioli while Haywood stuck with a classic – Longhorn Barbecue.

“It was good,” he said. “I have no complaints.”