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Davis, California

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Davis Farmers Market celebrates 23rd annual National Pig Day

Every year, Randii MacNear dresses as Ms. Piggy (not the copyrighted ‘Miss Piggy’) on Pig Day at the Davis Farmers Market to “get her pig on.”

MacNear is the Davis Farmers Market manager and executive director of Pig Day, an annual Davis tradition. The City of Davis celebrated its 23rd annual Pig Day on March 1.

“This year, it’s very special that we will be able to have Pig Day on the actual National Pig Day (March 1),” MacNear said. “We are the only farmer’s market in the state of California that does something like this, maybe the only one in the world.”

National Pig Day was started in 1972 by two sisters from the midwest — Ellen Stanley and Mary Lynne Rave. According to Rave, the holiday was founded “to accord the pig its rightful, though generally unrecognized, place as one of man’s most intellectual and domesticated animals.”

According to Professor Donald Broom of the Cambridge University Veterinary School, pigs have the cognitive ability to be quite sophisticated. Even more so than dogs and human three-year-olds.

As originally intended by the founders Stanley and Rave, Pig Day in Davis celebrates the diversity of functions that pigs represent and contribute to our society, including intelligence, reliability and resourcefulness.

Although Pig Day still features the same vendors from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Central Park in downtown Davis as every other week’s Farmers Market, it is obvious from first glance that it is a special day.

“My favorite, or at least the most shocking part of Pig Day is the gigantic pig balloon. I love the green landscape contrasted with a big, gigantic, pink interruption,” said Jimmy “Jimbo” Recinos, Davis community member, at Pig Day.

The many pigs in costumes were willing to give hugs and high-fives, welcoming everyone into the festivities. These human-sized pigs would later dance energetically to the Peter Franklin Band and the Regal Beezers.

“The people in pig costumes seemed at first everywhere and a little terrifying, but they are all so nice; pretty soon, you just want to be their friends,” said Brandon Hayashi, a Davis community member, at Pig Day.

Jim Nielson’s farm in Woodland contributed baby piglets for petting and playing. Attracting kids and adults, the day’s namesake is able to charm all members of the community. For more adorable fun, Greenich’s Acres offered pony rides and a petting zoo.

“I was so disappointed that I couldn’t go to Pig Day. What made it worse was that I kept receiving Snapchats and pictures of my friends petting, chasing and enjoying all the brown-and-pink piglets,” said Nancy Crowd, a fourth-year design major. “I was almost inspired to create a line of pig clothing for Silent Crowd [her clothing company] .”

MacNear expressed her interest in pigs.

“I am such a fan of little pigs,” MacNear said. “I collect little salt and pepper shakers with pigs on them. My favorite part of Pig Day is when the kids get to pet the baby pigs. They are so happy with all the attention.”

There were sections of piggy crafts for children, sponsored by Davis Parent Pre-School, Davis Community Church Nursery School and University Covenant Nursery School. Local artist Heidi Bekebrede brought supplies to facilitate clay piggy-bank painting.

Of course, pig-themed eatery and confections are the most sought-after delicacy at Pig Day. A live cooking station by Sutter Davis Hospital sets up demonstrations for learning and tasting healthy and delicious pork recipes.

“Part of the reason that we celebrate Pig Day at the Farmers Market is so we can educate the community about what agriculture is, and to promote consciousness about where food comes from,” MacNear said.

Many of the Farmers Market vendors modified their selections in celebration of the porcine inspiration. Among these were pork ribs from Monticello Seasonal Cuisines, pulled pork sandwiches from Bledsoe Meats, bacon or pulled pork breakfast sandwiches from Fat Face, pigs-in-a-blanket from The Hotdogger, piggie-pops from Upper Crust Bakery, and pig cookies and bacon-flavored frozen confections from Davis Creamery and Fat Face. The Yolo County Food Bank also participated, serving pancakes, bacon and juice to benefit the local community.

Pig Day is just one of the many ways that the Davis Farmers Market engages the Davis community to live greener, stay aware and be healthy.

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