The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

The Greyhound

The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

Baltimore’s Pigtown Neighborhood Hosts 21st Annual “Pigtown Festival”

Charlotte Case

On Saturday, Sept. 30, the Baltimore neighborhood of Pigtown hosted its 21st annual “Pigtown Festival.” During the event the main street of the neighborhood, Washington Boulevard, was closed to allow foot traffic only, providing space for vendors, live music, food, and a pig racing track.

The event is run by Pigtown Main Street, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the growth of the Pigtown community. They work to improve the aesthetics of their corridor, support local businesses, and connect the community together. The festival started 21 years ago to honor the deep history of Pigtown. 

Donovan Bunting, the marketing and program coordinator for Pigtown Main Street, speaks on the history of the neighborhood. 

“The reason why it’s called Pigtown in the first place is because back in the day when the B and O (Baltimore and Ohio) railroad was early in their existence as one of the first railroads in America, or largest railroad systems in America, when they would transport the pigs to the slaughterhouse they would drop them off and they would march them down Washington boulevard,” Bunting said.   

Charlotte Case

The transportation of the pigs was known as “the running of the pigs,” which sparked the tradition of hosting a pig racing festival each year. This year, pig races were hosted three times throughout the duration of the festival. Members of the community would gather around the “squeakness track” to watch pigs race one another around the track to the finish line. Each race included four pigs wearing different colors so the audience could cheer their favorite animal on.  

While the main event of the festival was the annual pig races, the rest of the day was packed with events fit for all community members. One event was a pie eating contest. Traci Moxson, a resident of Baltimore, competed against two other people to finish a self-serve pie without hands. She commented that she has been attending the festival for years. 

“My favorite part about the festival itself is hands down the pie eating contest, and the squeakness, the people, the celebration of Baltimore, and the music,” Moxson said. 

Charlotte Case

The festival also included a “kids zone” which had events for children like a climbing rock wall, hula hooping, and balloon animals. The kids zone hosted Ferrets and Friends, a Baltimore company that brings animals to events as a learning experience for kids. Animals present included bunnies, bearded dragons, and a snake. 

Jeff Boden, a local community member, expresses how much he loves the festival while watching his four kids dance to the music in the street.

“I just love the music, the atmosphere, and everyone coming together, nothing crazy going on,” Boden said.

The day of the festival had an atmosphere of positivity and connection within the community. Bunting, however, also shares about the work it took for Pigtown Main Street members to successfully plan the events.

“I do alot of art direction and graphic design, so all the official signage, all the official flyers, the banners, the billboards, I’m behind doing all that graphic design and creation of the layouts,” Bunting said. 

Charlotte Case

One of Bunting’s responsibilities was designing the merch stand, which featured shirts that had the map of the neighborhood in the shape of a pig and a slogan stating, “get down to Pigtown.” He also is in charge of running the social media sites for Pigtown Main Street: @pigtownmainst on Instagram.

In addition to his work with Pigtown Main Street, Bunting is also a co-owner of the Ripp’d Canvas tattoo shop, and he attests to how helpful the Pigtown festival has been for business. The event coordinators allotted space for more than 20 local businesses to set up a tent to advertise their business to the community. 

“I really like the fact that, you know, our local businesses get a lot of attention. So as part owner of the tattoo shop, that’s a big thing for us to have new customers come in,” Bunting said. 

Saturday, Sept. 30, was a celebration of the history of the neighborhood of Pigtown, the local businesses, and the community of Baltimore. 

“I know that this festival has been a tradition in this neighborhood for a long time. The pig races, the bands, the local food vendors. It’s a beautiful thing,” Bunting said. 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Greyhound Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *