Pucker up

ALPENA – Seven community leaders are taking part in a special fundraiser that will help boost the amount of money needed to put on the best fireworks shows possible during the HOG Bike Rally and the Fourth of July in Alpena.

The event, “Kiss the Pig for Fireworks,” will have canisters placed around town where people can drop money in the can of the person they would most like to see kiss a pig. Those who are taking part are Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jackie Krawczak, ACC President Olin Joynton, Mayor Matt Waligora, Alpena Senior Center Executive Director Grace Marshall, Alpena High School Principal Matt Poli, Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center Commander Col. Bryan Teff and Alpena firefighter Andy Marceau.

Krawczak said she has never kissed a pig in the past, but is willing to give it a shot if it means adding to the fireworks displays. She said she is already become familiar with Chloe and that she is adorable.

“I have never kissed a pig before, but I would love to,” Krawczak said. “Chloe is a really cute pot-bellied pig … and more importantly it is for a good cause. If people vote that they want me to be the one to do it, then I will do it.”

Joynton said he has had some experience with pig kissing in the past. He took part in a similar fundraiser before and was the winner. He said the best part of the experience was going home afterward and joking with his children about it.

“When I lived in Texas I was the one with the most votes and I bit the bullet and did the deed,” Joynton said. “When I went home I had fun with my daughters because I was telling them I was going to kiss them too and they would run away squealing. Don’t get me wrong though I would also be delighted if someone else has to do it.”

Marceau said he is confident he will be the one who will have to kiss Chloe. He said he believes the kids in Alpena and their families will step up and lend to the cause. He said he doubted they would be able to save him from the humiliation he will experience from his co-workers at the fire department. He said the razzing already has begun.

“I think the school children will want to see Fireman Andy be in his uniform and kiss a pig. With the group of community leaders I’m competing against I have no doubt I will win,” Marceau said. “The workers have already been giving me grief. The chief hung the fliers up and highlighted my name. They said they want me to have to kiss the other end of the pig.”

Joynton said making the Fourth of July celebration the best it can be is important because of what the holiday signifies. He said when a person sees a firework blast, they should remember the people who died so that we could be free, as well as celebrate freedom.

“First and foremost the holiday is a time to be patriotic and celebrate the people who fought and died for us to have the way of life we have and to be able to enjoy our freedoms,” Joynton said. “Fireworks is literally a reminder of the battles, wars and conflicts.”

The canisters will be distributed throughout Alpena beginning Monday at Chemical Bank on M-32. They will remain there until Friday. The display also will be at Walgreens on Wednesday and at various other locations until the winner is announced on June 13.

The person who collected the largest amount of money will be announced on June 14 in front of the Community Development Building at 5:30 p.m. Then that intimate moment between Chole and the contests winner will take place right after the announcement. The people of Alpena are urged to take part in the kissing event and are welcome to take photos at the event on June 14.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review … at www.thealpenanews.com.