With a heavy heart, our Hog Day Committee regrets to inform everyone that the Orange County Commissioners did not approve our permit request to move Hog Day to November 2nd and 3rd due to conflicts with early voting.
We offered to make adjustments to help mitigate the issue, including shifting road closures and adding additional signage to direct people to the Board of Elections; however, those adjustments were not approved.
Therefore, we have decided to not host our event this year and are considering hosting a smaller scale event, potentially around Groundhog Day (our historical kickoff from Hog Days past). Once we lock-in the scale, scope and approvals for this potential event, we will post notices here on our website and on our Facebook page.
We realize the positive impact that our 36-year tradition has on our community with so many organizations participating and receiving funding and exposure. The Orange County Optimist Club, a local civic organization, has lead Hog Day for the past 5 years after the Hillsborough/Orange County Chamber decided to no longer hold the event.
Our club is 100% volunteer lead, and the Orange County Optimists have donated thousands of dollars towards local youth initiatives, schools, churches and other worthy causes over the years.
Last year alone we donated about $17,000 to from our proceeds from the festival. The Optimist Club also retained $5000 towards their initiatives and outreach from the proceeds as well.
Our donations include organizations from all over the County, including the Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill, Walnut Grove United Methodist Church youth programs, Hummingbird 4H Club, disaster relief efforts, OCIM, and many more organizations over the past several years. Using a formula from the Orange County Visitors Bureau, we estimate that an average Hog Day economic impact is over $1,000,000 and a large Hog Day to be over $3,000,000 to the local economy.
The decision to cancel Hog Day this year was not made lightly by our committee. With the unfortunate hurricane the weekend of our planned event and issues with early voting access, we realize this is a tough decision all the way around. We feel blessed by the outpouring of support by so many individuals, businesses, the town and nonprofit organizations during this period.
We will be reaching out to all our vendors and participants about this decision and will offer full refunds or roll the investments over to next year’s event (their choice).
We will send out a notification once our committee has finalized details about a potential new celebration.
President, Orange County Optimist Club
Hog Day Chairman