Who will smooch the pig?

With less than a week to go for the Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce’s “Kiss the Pig Contest” Grace Marshall is the current leader in the amount of money raised for this year’s fireworks. Through Friday Marshall was on track to have a close encounter with a pot-bellied pig named Chloe during the fundraiser’s conclusion Friday at the chamber. If none of the other competitors can catch Marshall in donations, she will need to plant a kiss on the pig.

Unlike most years the chamber is trying to raise more money for fireworks, because there is also going to be a display put on in Alpena during the upcoming Harley Owner’s Group Rally at the end of July.

Administrative Assistant Alisha Bouchard said as the Kiss the Pig contest winds-up and the annual button sale nears completion, the chamber is a little behind its goal. She said she hopes there will be a late push in donations as hype about Marshall, or one of the other volunteers, kissing the pig.

“Our goal is $25,000, because we are raising money for two fireworks shows and right now we have raised a little over $20,000 and we’re getting down to the wire,” Bouchard said. “We still have a couple of big pushes before the deadline. The kiss the pig event is Friday and there will also be a bake sale at the same time. There will also be another button sale at the HPC Credit Union on Ripley Boulevard on June 21.That will be the last chance to purchase a fireworks button and help make the Alpena fireworks the best ever.”

Although Marshall has received the most donations, Bouchard said at this point anyone can win. She said the staff at the chamber has been doing what it can to push chamber Executive Director Jackie Krawczak into the lead, and that the other participants are getting help from their peers as well. The winner of the fundraiser will be announced at the chamber Friday at 5:30 p.m. and the kissing will begin shortly after.

“I know that each of the contestant’s work place have been having separate fundraisers for their boss or co-worker,” Bouchard said. “They like the contest for that reason. Right now we have collected over $500 this year from the contest, and I think that is pretty good considering it is the first year. We’re doing better than what we originally thought.”

Alpena Firefighter Andy Marceau is in second place in the amount of donations received and Krawczak is in third. People wishing to make a donation in one of the canisters designated to the participant can do so at the chamber.

Bouchard the fireworks on the Fourth of July are important to the community and by having an additional display this year it will only help local businesses and the community.

“If you have noticed the last few years the shows just keep getting bigger and better and that is because we keep raising more money and the community has been very gracious in stepping up to help do that,” Bouchard said. “Each year we up the goal and each year we have reached it. The fireworks and other events bring in a lot of people from out of town and it has a huge economic impact. They eat at the restaurants, stay in the hotels and shop in the stores, so it is a boost to the businesses.”

Bouchard said even though the button sales will be done and the Kiss the Pig Contest will be over, that donations will still be accepted at the chamber after the Fourth of July. She said the money that comes in after the first fireworks show will be used for the second.

For more information contact the Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce at 354-4181

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.