The Iowa State Fair is for everyone, and that’s why the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) is bringing the Bacon Buddies® pig show back to the Swine Barn on Saturday, Aug. 14.
The Bacon Buddies show gives individuals who have intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (Buddies) the opportunity to take a pig into the show ring – a great Iowa State Fair tradition. Their mentors are 4-H and FFA youth who have volunteered to share that show ring experience with the Special Olympics participants who asked to be part of this opportunity.
“We care about all the people in our communities,” says IPPA President Dennis Liljedahl. “Pig farms have always been a part of Iowa’s rural communities. Bacon Buddies shares our values of being a good neighbor and making a positive contribution for better lives in Iowa.”
“This is a great opportunity for our Special Olympics athletes,” says John Kliegl, the president and CEO of Special Olympics Iowa. “They want to do what their peers are doing, and it’s great to work with the 4-H and FFA youth who see them as their equals.”
The Bacon Buddies show begins at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 14 in the east show ring of the Swine Barn on the Iowa State Fairgrounds. Sixteen Buddies will show their pigs in groups of four, giving them an opportunity to interact with the judge and their animals. Mentors will be on hand with helpful suggestions as the Buddies walk their pigs around the ring.
When the first show was held in 2019, participants and spectators both noted the camaraderie and seeing participants find common ground in enjoying the experience. No show was scheduled for 2020 because of Covid-19, but this summer, some Iowa county fairs included a Bacon Buddies event to create that same opportunity locally.