Ham Days 'like a gem'

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Rain affected events, but chamber pleased with 2009 festival

By Stephen Lega

A wet and rainy Saturday didn't stop an estimated 30,000 people from enjoying the 2009 Marion County Country Ham Days this past weekend.

"All in all, everybody is very pleased," said Emily Zink, Ham Days co-chairwoman. "Mother Nature gave us a little bit of rain, but we didn't lose either day totally."

In spite of the wet conditions, several Ham Days events enjoyed good turnouts. The car show attracted more than 180 vehicles, and 179 runners ran through the puddles in the Pokey Pig 5K.

This year, 4,264 breakfasts were served. The rain affected Saturday sales, but Sunday's sales were actually higher than they were last year, according to Stacy Mattingly, the executive director of the Lebanon-Marion County Chamber of Commerce.

The estimated receipts hadn't been calculated as of Monday afternoon, but Mattingly said the extra t-shirt and pin sales will help counteract the lower breakfast sales.

Zink said that approximately 2,500 t-shirts were sold - three times more than usual - and around 500 pins were sold. Both items played on the club scene that was popular in Lebanon in the late 1960s. The t-shirt was designed after the sign that once hung outside the now closed Club 68.

Mattingly added that the chamber took orders for another 100 pins over the weekend, and more orders will be accepted through Friday. (Pins are $6 apiece. The phone number for the chamber is 692-9594.)

The Pigasus Parade was still a big draw, both in terms of the crowd and the number of participants, despite the rain that preceded it. Lebanon received .43 inches of rain Saturday, according to The Weather Channel's website.

"There were still lots of people in the streets watching," Zink said.

Monty Parman, the parade chairman, estimated that 300 units, groups and vehicles and between 500 and 600 people participated in this year's parade.

Zink praised the volunteers and sponsors for their help, and she said Mattingly did an excellent job in her first year being in charge of Ham Days.

Mattingly said this is the most organized Ham Days she has seen, but she said the Ham Days committee and the members of its subcommittees deserve the credit for that.

"With the exception of the rain, I thought Ham Days worked like a gem," she said.