Hog Happenin’ 2015 could have nationally recognized sponsors, according to Downtown Development Association chair Brooke Sherrill.
Sherrill shared the news with Lincolnton’s City Council during a meeting on Thursday.
“It was a challenging year because (Lincolnton Business and Community Development Department director) Brad (Guth) resigned right before we had Hog Happenin’, and he has been in control of this event ever since he came here…he actually started this event,” Sherrill said. “So there were a lot of things we had to figure out along the way, but we did it. Our committee rose to the challenge, and (B&CD events and marketing coordinator) Abby (Cole) was awesome in helping us make it our best year yet.”
According to Sherrill, three corporate sponsors with national recognition have expressed interest in sponsoring next year’s Hog Happenin’ event. Because these companies budget approximately a year in advance, the Downtown Development Association came before City Council on Thursday to confirm the event would take place in 2015.
“We’re really excited about this because it could benefit the barbeque competition, and we’re hoping that will tie into the Corn Hole competition we had this year…which we plan to have nationally televised,” she said. “So, since we have so many things on the table…we just want to get the ball rolling and start now so we can have more opportunities for sponsorships and for promoting the event and making it awesome.”
“I found the event to be very family friendly,” City Council member Dr. Martin Eaddy said. “I talked to a lot of the vendors, and they were very upbeat and positive as to how they were treated and how organized it was. I sort of made an attempt to get around the whole venue, and I felt really good about it.”
Sherrill added that the downtown merchants also seemed happier this year, stating that those who opted to stay open experienced either a rise in business during the event or had Hog Happenin’ attendees return the following week to patronize their stores.
City Council unanimously approved the decision to hold the event on June 5-6 for 2015.
Prior to the meeting’s conclusion, City Council member Dr. John Cloninger requested to discuss what he deemed “the No. 1 elephant in the room.”
“I think we need to encourage the county to stay here instead of moving to the hospital,” he said.
Other council members expressed their agreement with Cloninger. While no formal action was taken, the council members felt the county should know they the city is eager to have county offices remain in downtown Lincolnton.
“I think we need to take the approach of having an open dialogue with the county and the Citizens Center to see if we can come together and develop a mutually beneficial solution,” Eaddy said. “I’ve been involved in a number of renovation projects, and I’ll tell you right now, if they think $17 million is the bottom line — once you start tearing walls out and adjusting heating and air conditioning and try to customize that building…and when it’s over, they’re still going to have an old building. It would be a lot better and they would be a lot more economically and better served if they built a new building.”
“I’m encouraged that they said the door is still open,” Gilleland said. “They said the train left the station, but the door is still open if there is a solution for them to remain downtown.”
Lincolnton’s City Council is scheduled to hold their next meeting at City Hall on August 7 at 7 p.m.