SPAM® festival expands and promises to be unique

The SPAM® Parade and festival put Shady Cove on the map. But after seven years there was no longer anyone to put on the event and the city lost one of the most popular festivities in southern Oregon. After a hiatus of one year, business owners, Mary Gunderlock and Christie Eggleston, were encouraged to resurrect the festival by Alma Spicer, longtime advocate of the event and Chair of the Upper Rogue Regional Tourism Alliance. Gunderlock and Eggleston worked through the glitches and their first City of Shady Cove SPAM® Festival was so successful, the two women were designated Citizens of the Year in 2009 by the city council.

Although the parade is now history, the festival is bigger than ever this year in what is the tenth anniversary. “Keep the Tradition Alive” is the theme and the date of the event to reflect the milestone is July 10 with a starting time of 10:10 a.m. Although Eggleston had to bow out for personal reasons, Gunderlock is carrying on the tradition with the help of Shady Cove resident Gary Endicott and 19 other volunteers.

In the spirit of fun, this year there will be a queen or in this case two queens, to reign over the festival. The queens, however, will not be beautiful women but two pigs that will also be on a float in the Eagle Point July 4 parade. Attendees will have a chance to guesstimate how many cans of SPAM® the two “ladies” would make, says Gunderlock. The winner, based on a formula from Hormel (producers of SPAM®), will win a prize. With pigs the basis of the festival, volunteers will wear snouts that day. (Gunderlock did not say whether volunteers are aware of this.)

Involving pigs in the festival, although appropriate, has been an adventure, says Gunderlock. Just ask Endicott who helped pull out a trailer stuck in the mud in a barn with 60 bales of hay for the pigs on it or resident Stan Johnson now irrevocably dubbed the “Pigmaster” rather than the “Duckmaster,” his former title.   

As well as getting up close and personal with pigs, Gunderlock’s team has been busy planning festival activities. For kids, a free carnival with prizes, free root beer from the Pepsi Mug Boy, 500 SPAMMOBILE® replicas donated by Sherms Thunderbird Markets and more will keep them entertained. Adults will be busy enjoying the Beer Garden, music by two groups, the Jammers and Denim and Diamonds and visiting with friends, neighbors and visitors.

For all ages, a stationary parade, a dunk tank, food such as SPAM®burgers, SPAM® teriyaki kabobs and pulled pork sandwiches, a watermelon eating contest, a display of military vehicles, an exhibit from the Crater Rock Museum in Central Point, vendor booths including wares from artisans and SPAM® souvenirs of hats, banners, fishing lures and other items will be available.

A silent auction presided over by Rip Roarin’ Roy will have donations such as a room and meal package worth $190 at the Seven Feathers Casino, $100 certificate from David R. Young for automotive work, $100 service from Heritage Furniture, a $50 massage from Terry Myers, 14 coupons from Pizza at the Cove, rafting trips and more. A 50-50 drawing and raffles are also an enticement.

Because the festival is for the community, local organizations will benefit. Gunderlock says part of the proceeds will go to Pop Warner Football and the Boys & Girls Club in Shady Cove. Both groups will help at the festival.

Volunteers such as Gunderlock and Endicott are the backbone of small communities. Gunderlock says with this year’s large team, things are running smoothly. She is excited about the festival, the enjoyment it will bring to everyone and the benefit to businesses. She says, “The festival is a lot of work but the fun of it brings people to our city. I care about Shady Cove and its future.”
By Margaret Bradburn
Of the Independent

Speak Your Mind