Optimists gearing up for Hog Day 2014

Apr. 10, 2014 @ 04:49 PM

An Orange County favorite will be back this summer under new management.
The Optimist Club of Orange County has taken over management of Hog Day 2014 and is looking forward to giving visitors the nostalgic touch that drew them to the festival more than 30 years ago.
“It’s become the county fair and it’s really been about to allow us to highlight our organization,” said Craig Lloyd, vice chair of the Hog Day committee and president of the Optimist Club of Orange County. “This is one of those times where it was the right time and the right place and we had been looking for a way to volunteer.”
The Optimist Club is an organization dedicated to “bringing out the best in kids” through community service programs. According to the Optimist International website, 65,000 community service projects are conducted each year by clubs, spending $78 million in their communities.
Lloyd and his wife came to Orange County from North Myrtle Beach, S.C. where they were both very active in the local Optimist Club, he said. So much so that they made it a family affair and their kids became members.
Lloyd and others reorganized the Optimist Club last year. When the club learned that the Hillsborough/Orange County Chamber of Commerce was no longer able to organize Hog Day, they saw the chance of a lifetime.
“We saw the opportunity where we could go in and bring it together and format it like other events where we could raise funds and give it back as grants and community projects,” he said. “I talked to some friends and we asked, ‘Why don’t we just marry these two ideas together?’”
The Optimist Club is working with the Efland Ruritan Club and has scheduled Hog Day 2014 for June 20-21.
Themed “Family Reunion,” the festival is using the original logo that was created some 31 years ago. Among the attractions this year, a hog hollering contest, BBQ teams, live music, games and entertainment and, of course, food.
“It’s a huge undertaking but we really have a passion and a love for our community,” Lloyd said. “The chamber has been helpful throughout the entire process and made it an easier transition.
“We’ve had overwhelming support so far,” Lloyd said. “People have so many great memories. They know there is an all-star group of volunteers here, so they see our love and passion for this event and they’re coming out to support us.”
Making sure they bring back what people have loved about Hog Day, Lloyd said that there will be a dedication video that Friday night, showing the festival over the years.
The Optimist Club of Orange County is looking for sponsors for Hog Day, volunteers for its activities, crafters and vendors to help make the festival a success. 
Non-profits who want to be food vendors or set up booths with information as well as potential crafters and vendors are encouraged to contact the committee.
“This will be our key project and our club’s outreach and recruitment tool,” Lloyd said. “It was a perfect kind of timing where things just fell in line.”
For information on Hog Day 2014, visit www.hogday.org, https://www.facebook.com/hog.day or email hogday@email.com.