OREGON – This was the first year for me to cover the Ogle County Fair myself. Never having been to the Ogle County Fair I didn’t know what to expect. One thing I did notice while there on Saturday, Aug. 1, was the long line for the Ogle County Pork Producers annual pork chop dinner. With my curiosity peaked, I inquired with the lady selling tickets to the dinner about the event.

Debbie Harris was the lady selling the tickets, she was just filling in for another person who needed a break. After engaging her in conversation Debbie explained to me that the pork chop dinner has been going on for many years, but she wasn’t sure how many. She did know that 1st Farm Credit Services teams up with the Ogle County Pork Producers to put on this event. The Ogle County Pork Producers provide the food, while 1st Farm Credit Services provides the volunteers to staff the dinner.

I wanted to buy a ticket and give it a try, but the Demolition Derby was starting soon and I wasn’t sure if I could get through the line, eat dinner, and make it for the start of the Derby.

After the first round of the Derby was over there was a break in between heats, so I headed back out into the fairgrounds from the grandstands. By this time tickets to the dinner were no longer being sold, and staff was cleaning up the service area. Luckily for me they were still selling the pork chops with a bag of 10 going for $20. Debbie was there helping with the clean-up and put me in touch with organizers of the event. I asked one of the gentlemen how long the event has gone on.

“I remember back in the 1970’s when we did this at the old fairgrounds,” he replied.

So that means it’s been around abut 40 years.

Since they were now selling the leftover pork chops at $2 apiece if I bought a bag of 10, I asked if I could by just one for $2. Debbie said sure and I got my chop. Oh, are they delicious! Nice and juicy with just the right amount of barbeque and tanginess that gave it a unique flavor. I can’t wait for next year to come back!

All in all they sold 2500 pork chops that night. It appeared that many also took home dinners or leftovers as evidenced from the amount of Styrofoam containers in front of diners after dinner. While some diners finished up the band started to play while a few couples danced.

I like finding out about things like this, a tradition that has gone on for a long time. After finishing my chop it was back over to the grandstand to photograph the next round of the Demo Derby.

2015 OCPP Porkchop dinner 2

Stillman residents Regina and Alivia Johnson pose for a picture while waiting in line at the Ogle County Pork Producers pork chop dinner on Saturday, Aug. 1, during the Ogle County Fair.

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