GARDINER — The swine were at one end of Main Street and the steins were at the other Saturday for the second annual Swine & Stein Festival.

Attendees at the event, organized by Gardiner Main Street director Patrick Wright, sported small taster glasses and occasionally larger glasses as they sampled beer varieties and filled up on pulled pork, bacon-topped cupcakes and other themed food.

The Water Street Cafe made its debut with beer cheese soup. and the Mad Dog Pub and Gerard’s Pizza and other downtown businesses offered specials as well.

“We sold 300 tickets in advance,” said Wright, as he watched volunteers sell tickets and check IDs of those who wanted to buy in to the local Oktoberfest.

The damp weather heightened the beer smell inside the beer tent, where volunteers filled the sampler glasses and attendees could rest and sit as they tried food as well.

Danny McHatton and Heather Strekal of Manhattan posed for a photo just outside the tent.

“We were staying in Freeport and found out about the festival,” they said. The couple had come to Maine to celebrate their engagement.

“It’s great, the town’s great and we get to try some local beer,” McHatton said.

“It’s the perfect way to kick off fall,” Stekal said.

A fat, pink-and-black papier-mâché sow sporting a bridal veil was an eye-catcher in the front window of Sweet Love bridal boutique and tea and coffee house.

Store owner Kara Wilbur said it was crafted by artist Susan Mathias who normally paints portraits of animals.

The shop offered the chocolate cupcakes topped with bacon.

“It tastes really good — like a little salt with the chocolate,” Wilbur said..

Jodi Harvey of Farmingdale went for the Pig Square Bingo first and the beer tent second.

“Give me some money,” she told her friend.

She wanted to buy a square chalked on the pavement where she thought the piglets might go. The person who chose the correct square would receive gift certificates from local merchants.

“It’s not gambling,” she said. “It’s going to a good cause.”

The pigs had come from Wright’s Three Little Pigs Family Farm in Woolwich.

Jen Wright watched over the three piglets as they rooted around the pen, occasionally turning up their snouts at food pellets provided by small children in favor of munching on hay pulled from surrounding bales.

“They’re not hungry,” said 5-year-old Trevor Pierce of West Gardiner.

Festivalgoers said there appeared to be more food and more activities than the inaugural year of the event.

Wright said merchants had made a special effort after some vendors ran into technical difficulties.

“The mobile pizza guy’s oven fell apart,” he said.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]


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