Looking Back: 1987 – 1997
Ham Festivals through the years
This Chronological History was made available courtesy of the Cadiz Record.
The Cadiz Record polled several Trigg County residents about what they most looked forward to at the Ham Festival. Mike Johnson said, “The antique car show, because I like looking at old cars.”
It was an eventful year beyond classic cars, with a horseshoe contest and outhouse racing. The Oink Show at the Hamtown Restaurant hosted 400 people participating and watching the talented performers give their all. State Representative Ramsey Morris was declared Grand Marshal, while Pennyrile Home Medical Supply owner David Chesnut provided free wheelchair service for guests who needed.
“We want everyone to be able to join in the fun,” Chesnut said.
John Egerton’s essay from “A Mind to Stay Here and the Americanization of Dixie” was published in The Cadiz Record. “When I was a boy, my grandparents introduced me to country hams and beaten biscuits. My life was enriched.”
The biscuit weighed nearly 400 pounds and offered over 2,200 servings to hungry festivalgoers.
Jennifer Leigh Mize was named Miss Trigg County while the shuttle-bus service debuted.
“Anytime you have 10,000 people downtown you are going to have a few problems,” said Ham Fest Chairman Bill Thomas as he praised the bus service.
Audrey P’Pool was the grand-champion curer of ham for 1987.
Courier-Journal Magazine Writer J. Ray Hall was named Grand Marshal for an even bigger Ham Festival that featured a historical tour and lunch at the Cadiz Baptist Church to raise funds for the John L. Street Library.
A Halloween Haunted House was built at the old Carpet Warehouse, while the Recreation Complex was turned into a mud bog for ATV riders.
Doughnut eating contests, the Farmers’ Bank five-mile race, and cross-country canoe races occupied the interests of competitive guests, while 50’s themed and square dances provided recreation for all.Â Cadiz Mascot Zidac (Cadiz spelled backwards) and his pet pig “Gip” also promoted tourism by discussing Trigg County events and being featured on T-shirts. Zidac was best known for his reversed suspenders.
Teddy McNichols of Linton started a wagon train from Linton to Cadiz for the Festival. “I thought with interest in wagon rides picking up, we could start something here to publicize the Ham Festival.
The Cadiz Record offered hand-drawn portraits for customers stopping for a subscription. Lisa Vaughn was named Miss Trigg County.
Zidac praised Cadiz beautification efforts with replanted downtown flowers and the improvements at the Original Log Cabin, which had new hand-sewn curtains and borrowed furniture for plenty of Ham Festival Tours.
Smith Broadbent, jr. was named Grand Marshal of the parade, while Kiss-a-Pig contests, a “Nifty ’90’s fashion show” clog dancers and a Civil War Display offered guests plenty of activities.
The Future Homemakers of America sponsored Pork Avenue with plenty of games for kids, and Governor Wallace Wilkinson took in the sights and scenery at the festival.
Audrey P’Pool’s ham was named best in the event, while Aubrey Lancaster was recognized by the Festival for contributions to the community. Karla Cunningham was named Miss Trigg County.
The Cadiz Record was to blame for a fleet of rubber ducks swarming the Little River. In what was again described as a “First Annual Event” the Record River Race awarded a Florida vacation to the winning duck’s owner. For a year’s subscription or an eight-week classified ad, a duck was given to race in the river. The lucky winner was Chris Woodall. Second place was good for a five-year subscription, while third place got two years of the Finest Paper in Trigg County.
The Ham Festival inspired a harmless prank played on Mack Bryan. Her outdoor gas tank was doctored to look like a pink pig by Rudy Watkins and Elaine Briggs.
“I got so many phone calls that I couldn’t watch my soap operas,” Bryan said of her pig-tank.
The “Not-so-Newlywed” game tested bonds of matrimony between spouses with a few years to “get to know one another,” while the Ham Festival hosted two world record holders. Not only was the largest ham biscuit on display, but also the world’s largest can of paint. Volume of paint was not available.
Barbara shore and Mary Graham sold “Barbara and Mary’s West Kentucky Recipe Collection Cookbook,” which was a smash hit for guests that wanted to take some western Kentucky hospitality and cuisine home with them.
The Oink Contest was renamed the Ham Festival Talent Show, and featured a format inspired by the Grand ‘Ol Opry. Miss Trigg County was Allison Burgess, while Rex Cook cured the champion ham.
During the 15th Ham Festival, Gov. Wallace Wilkinson made an appearance at the courthouse and presented a check in the amount of $318, 424 for the water treatment plant.
“Your mayor (Scott Sivills) has absolutely worried me to death with grants,” he said to the crowd. “There has been no other mayor in Cadiz like him.”
He also announced that Mid-Continent Springs of Hopkinsville would be expanding and moving into Industrial park II.
The Kickoff Breakfast was held at the Kentucky Smokehouse. Lieutenant Governor Brereton Jones and Paul Patton, who were running for governor and lieutenant governor, respectively, spoke there as part of their campaign.
The balloon crew from Johnson Controls dedicated a plaque in memory of Danny Lane, who died earlier that year. Lots of kids participated in the greased pig contest at West Cadiz Park.
Jessica Finley was Miss Trigg County out of a pool of 37 contestants. Erma Boyd won crowned Mrs. Trigg County. For the second time, Boyce Braboy won the award for Grand Champion Ham.
Between 20,000 and 25,000 people made their way to the 16th Trigg County Country Ham Festival. Ham Festival Committee member Harry Todd said that the festival was safer that year because it had been more spread out.
“We wanted to be more cautious about safety,” he said. “With all the traffic on US 68, it creates an unsafe environment for everyone crossing the streets.”
To celebrate Kentucky’s bicentennial, Sarah Neighborgall dressed in an 18th century era costume and walked next to someone in a pig costume during the parade. She held a sign that said, “Dance a 1792 jig with a 1992 pig.” The Cadiz Record hosted the pigpen prison. Deputy Sheriff Dane Hughes stood inside wearing a pig mask. Sheila Knight Lancaster performed with her band at the Oink Show.
Karrie Milligan was crowned Miss Trigg County and Barbara Futrell was Mrs. Trigg County. The Grand Champion Ham was entered by Robert Earl and Thelma Fowler.
During the 17th Ham Festival, the Trigg County Historical Society’s Save the School Committee raised $2,000 with an Old Fashioned Pie Supper. The pies were bid on, and the proceeds were to go to furnishings and maintenance for the Southern Academy, a one-room schoolhouse on the Trigg County Museum Property.
A portrait of County Judge-Executive Zellner Cossey was unveiled in the Circuit Courtroom, and the Zellner Cossey Outstanding Service Award was given to James Ray and Carl Ledford.
Victoria Mize bested 41 other competitors for the title of Miss Trigg County, Stephanie King was crowned Mrs. Trigg County.
The 18th Annual Ham Festival saw its largest one-day crowd up to that point €an estimated 30,000. The completion of the US 68-80 Bypass made it possible to block traffic on Main Street for the first time since 1989.
“Having Main Street closed to traffic this year helped a lot,” said Festival Chair Stephanie Perry. “We were able to draw a larger crowd.”
The festival was scheduled over a two-week period, although most of the festivities took place from Oct. 14, 15 and 16. Activities were added on Sunday to help promote the downtown antique shops and Lake Barkley. Officials were a little worried that the Aurora Arts and Crafts Festival might cut down on the crowds, but it didn’t seem to make a dent. Many people came out to see things like the pig derby and Black Jack, a 140-pound Vietnamese potbelly pig featured at Cindy Taylor’s petting zoo in West Cadiz Park.
“Overall, we did real well,” Perry said. “Everyone seemed real pleased with the festival. It created a nice atmosphere, and having Main Street closed to traffic gave people more room to walk.”
LaTiya Kirby was crowned Miss Trigg County and Carolyn Rogers was Mrs. Trigg County. Charlie Bell Wadlington won Grand Champion Country Ham out of 21 entries.
Another new record for crowds was set at the 19th Ham Festival with a reported 31,500 coming out to stuff their faces. There were several competing events in the area such as the Aurora Arts and Crafts Festival, activities at Kentucky Dam Village and Homecoming Weekend at Murray State University.
“We were delighted with the participation in this year’s festival,” said Cindy Sholar, the Ham Festival Events Chair. “It’s good two more people didn’t attend. I don’t knowÂ where we would have put them.”
Joe Case, the host of Nashville’s News Channel 5’s “Talk of the Town,” spoke to 340 people at the Kickoff Breakfast. While he was in town, he also filmed events to air on the show. When Grand Ole Opry performer Mike Snider played a concert, 3,200 people sat on lawn chairs, bales of hay and the ground around the courthouse to enjoy the show. Snider sang country and bluegrass songs, humorous songs and stories about life.
The hams, as usual, were judged by confirmation, workmanship, meatiness, color and, most importantly, aroma. Teenie Vanzant was the Grand Champion, followed by Edith Litchfield, Gary Litchfield, the Wadlington Brothers and Robert Flood.
Miss Trigg County was Kisha Allen and Mrs. Trigg County was Sharon Wolfe.
That’s right, it was the big 2-0 for the Trigg County Country Ham Festival, and a new record for crowds was set when about 33,800 people came, according to Events Committee Chair Cindy Sholar.
Two hundred fifty people came to the kickoff Breakfast, where Channel 6’s Scott Burrage spoke. One of the biggest events came when 12,000 came to the Ken Mellons concert that Saturday.
Jessica Marshall was crowned Miss Trigg County and Lisa Butts was Mrs. Trigg County. Connie and Scotty Gray won the award for Grand Champion Country Ham.
Attendance for the 21st Ham Festival shot up considerably from the previous year when an estimated total of 80,000 people showed in the unusually warm 80-degree October weather.
Between 4,000 and 8,000 people came to the courthouse square to see David Kersh play. When Dean Hall and the Loose Eels played that Friday, 1,500 people came. A worship service was held on Sunday morning, which Sholar said got a good response. The National Guard directed traffic, which freed up committee members to take care of other things. The only major disappointment was the low attendance at the park, Sholar said. The tradition of Ham Festival political campaigning continued that year when state senate candidates Bob Jackson and Dick Dissinger made appearances, as well as Steve Henry and Charlie Owen, who were running for the United States Senate.
Miss Trigg County that year was Joanna Futrell and Becky Freeman was Mrs. Trigg County. The Grand Champion Ham was cured by Hollis and Dean Carr.