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Pig Out in the Park broke attendance record, founder says

Sept. 6, 2022 Updated Tue., Sept. 6, 2022 at 9:03 p.m.

Rosa Chong with Character Cotton Candy, creates a pig face on an order of cotton candy Friday in at Pig Out in the Park in Riverfront Park.  (Colin Mulvany/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Rosa Chong with Character Cotton Candy, creates a pig face on an order of cotton candy Friday in at Pig Out in the Park in Riverfront Park. (Colin Mulvany/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

Spokane’s six-day food and music festival had a record turnout this year, said Pig Out in the Park founder and organizer Bill Burke.

Between 123,000 and 124,000 people attended the free event in Riverfront Park through Labor Day, Burke estimated based on photographs and sales numbers. Vendors made 199,000 sales. This surpasses the record of 119,000 estimated attendees in 2019.

The 41st annual Pig Out featured 50 food booths and 112 free concerts. “We were at capacity two nights in a row in the Pavilion,” Burke said.

Based on other events that have struggled to rebound since the pandemic, Burke was expecting a quarter to a third drop in attendance, but that didn’t happen.

He credits the success to people craving to get out after a long summer and a long pandemic. It’s also free and in a great location. “People love Pig Out,” he said. “I hear from people all year long about the event.”

The event was canceled in 2020 and 2021 at the request of the health care community due to rising COVID-19 numbers.

“We held our breath all the way through this year,” Burke said. Instead, he saw many families with young children, which he credits to the availability of vaccines for that population.

Pig Out lucked out with the weather, too, he said, especially Sunday and Monday night. “Yeah, it was hot, but it was beautiful in the park.”

Burke sees potential for even more growth through advertising outside of Spokane.

Pig Out will return next year from Aug. 30 through Labor Day, Sept. 4.

James Hanlon's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is funded in part by Report for America and by members of the Spokane community. This story can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.

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