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How this "Great Pig Out" (GPO) started.

By Joe Dillett

GPO Site (Somonauk, Illinois)

How did the GPO get started? It started with the combination of 3 things,

It was these three ingredients that had some real party potential. I mentioned the idea to my Internet Carving Family.

The GPO (Great Pig Out) took off with a life of it’s own. The momentum couldn’t be stopped. I certainly didn’t want to stop it. I like doing things in a big way so it took very little encouragement to grow the GPO into a big event. Ideas, offers of help, and sponsorships just flew in. So any success this GPO achieves is due to the support of my friends and woodcarving family. I feel honored to be hosting this very worthwhile event and the opportunity to help the Boy Scouts.

Before I get too far into the planning of the GPO, let me explain what it is. It’s a weekend event, September 17, 18, and 19th 1999, with a woodcarving theme, in a party atmosphere, which benefits the Somonauk Boy Scouts. Some adjoining businesses are helping sponsor this event as a customer appreciation. The event is free to the public. All donations and proceeds from the raffles and auctions go directly to the Somonauk Boy Scout Troop #5.

This is the schedule of events that are being planed. Friday is a day of gathering, eating bratwurst, and getting aquatinted around the bon fire. This will be the first time many of us will be meeting our Internet family face to face. This is an opportunity for the scouts to meet people from all over the USA and some from other countries including Ainslie Pyne from Australia. Saturday is the main event, open to the public from 10 AM to 10 PM. The day starts with the judging of the Boring Contest and a fun All-American Dog Show at 10 AM. While we are eating the pig, turkey, BIG fish with all the trimmings at 1 PM, family entertainment will be coming live from the stage. Jud and our DJ will keep the program rolling until 10 PM.

The scheduled program includes music, dancing, raffles, auctions, carving shows, carving contests and demonstrations that will go on throughout the day. The end of the day should find the tired scouts and other carvers around the bon fire talking about the events of the day. Sunday begins at 10:30AM with a 4-hour Whittling Contest. Demonstrations will continue, and eventually we will have to say our good-byes and send everyone on their way.

Among the activities being planned, I wanted a contest that any woodworker could do to compete with the woodcarvers. That’s the idea behind the Boring Contest, which is the challenge of seeing who can drill the straightest hole 4 feet deep in a 1-inch diameter piece of wood using simple hand tools. Sponsors like Arbortech, The Hardwood Connection, Lee
Valley Tools, and The Woodcraft Shop, stepped up offering prizes. Golf ball carving and woodcarving contests are organized and sponsors are offering prizes. A whittling contest immerged with Don Burgdorf donating patterns and roughouts along with Bette Franke. Many of the sponsors are the woodcarvers themselves. One of our own Internet family carvers, Lisa Johnstone http://www.viser.net/~lisajohn/index1.htm, set up our own GPO page http://members.tripod.com/~WoodPorch/gpo.htm. The excitement keeps growing.

Even 3 months before the GPO, 18 campsites were already reserved. Neighboring businesses volunteered their parking lots to hold the cars. Even the church said we could use their kitchen so Dan Kersey can make some of his famous bread. John Iverson donated a 60-pound King Salmon to be cooked at the GPO. The response is overwhelming. More than 23 sponsors wanting to donate time or give something to the success of this event.

Tents, tables, chairs, roasters, and toilets are ordered. The food estimate has gone from 250 to 400 people. The scouts, 26 in all, have their jobs assigned, and the 14 scout leaders are ready to supervise. A local business has loaned us a 19-foot long trailer for our stage. From that stage will come music, both live and from our DJ, Bill Knudsen. Jud Hindes, our MC, will run the program including raffles, auctions, awards, and entertainment. Demonstration areas have been set up for 8 companies and individuals to demonstrate products and techniques related to woodcarving. The local TV station (TV-30) has broadcast 3 half-hour shows promoting the GPO. So far I have about 20 signs for publicity and directing people around the 1 _ acre grounds. Our local paper offered to print an article for promotion. I will be back on TV for the final promotion September 13, the Monday before the GPO.

What’s left to do? With about a month to go before the GPO there are many tasks left. One of those tasks is teaching the scouts how to whittle so they can participate in the Junior Whittling Contest. Bob Mau (known in this carving community as Basswood), a fellow club member and a great friend, has offered to help me teach the scouts. I need to get my web page updated for streaming video so our Internet carving family that can’t come may attend through the Internet. There will be many helping me get things set up. Other tasks like printing and distributing flyers, writing articles for promotion, cleaning and rearranging the shop, laying out the grounds, and making a list so I don’t forget any details, are left to do.

I know I haven’t mentioned everyone who is helping with the GPO, but listed below are some of the generous people and businesses that are helping make this GPO possible and helping the Boy Scouts.

Others are donating time and gifts. Dan Kersey is baking fresh bread and also bringing some of his Dan’s Devil Dust. If Dan Kersey has any of his 60-year-old bread starter left, you can expect it to be auctioned along with his recipe for the bread. Cooking and set-up help from Merle Orowski, Jud Hindes, Marcie Moore, Bob Mau, Ainslie Pyne, and many others that have said they will be here to help. I have found no shortage in volunteers and sponsors. People love to party especially for a good cause like the Boy Scouts. I thank you very much for making this GPO possible and giving me (Joe Dillett) the honor to host it.

Our town of Somonauk, population 1,300, is very excited about this GPO. We extend a warm welcome to all of you who are traveling to our town for this event. Motels are also available within 30 miles. Questions? Please call Joe Dillett (815) 498-9290 at The Carving Shop for information and to register for contests and camping.

PS. Anyone still willing to donate something to the Boy Scout Auction could please contact Joe Dillett. We are looking for items up to $30 in value that adults would be willing to bid on