2019-06-04 OPC Press Release
Stratford, ON, June 4, 2019
• Record number of Canadian and international exhibitors
• Taste the Best event features pork hock-themed dishes, craft beer sampling
• Hog Jog event to support L’Arche Stratford
June is a time for optimism for many of Ontario’s pork producers, with this year’s crops starting to finally get in the ground and the kids finishing up school for the year. It’s also the perfect backdrop to kick off the 46th Ontario Pork Congress (OPC) on June 19 and 20 and celebrate the Year of the Pig.
Each year, the OPC brings together all segments of the pork industry for two days of networking, education, free food and festivities.
According to OPC President Kirk McLean, the event, at its core, is about celebrating another successful year in the industry, catching up with old friends and meeting the coming generation of pork producers.
This year the show has grown again with well over 100,000 square feet of exhibit area, both inside and out. We are now bursting at the seams with exhibitors, events, speakers, activities and FREE FOOD. Even the delicious pork BBQ lunch prepared by Perth County Pork Producers is included with your admission.
Event organizers are expecting around 2,500 attendees for this year’s Congress, with hopes that this number will continue climbing and match positive hog market trends in recent years.
The tradeshow portion of the Pork Congress takes place at the Stratford Rotary Complex in Stratford, Ontario and brings together over 145 Canadian and international exhibitors to showcase the latest innovations in areas including electronic feeding systems, genetics, nutrition and housing.
Attendees can plan ahead with the free “My Show Planner” found on the OPC website. With the live interactive map of the show they will be able to plan their time at the show by scheduling exhibitor visits, speakers that they wish to hear, or events that are a must to get to. As well as see all the events taking place during the two days. They will also be able to search for exhibitors with the interactive map.
Young families touring the tradeshow halls and exhibits can also stop by the “Piglet Pen” play area for a quick break in the action.
For 46 years, an anchoring event of the Pork Congress’ has been the Bacon Maker Classic (BMC), a live hog show that takes place on the second day and showcases the next generation of pork producers’ knowledge, skills and showmanship. A favourite of many event organizers and attendees, the show has grown in the past couple of years to include many more participants.
Foodies can get their fix at the popular “Taste the Best” free event, which showcases local pork prepared by local chefs, along with craft beer. Pork Congress organizers choose a different cut of pork for local participating restaurants to make into an array of creative dishes to be sampled by attendees. This year’s pork cut of choice? Pork hock. Also featured at this event, will be Railway City Brewery Co. to complement the delicious pork samples.
The always-popular Hog Jog also makes its return on the opening night of the Congress and is expected to see well over 500 participants take on a family friendly 3.5 kilometer walk or jog, a 10 kilometer run course, and the 500 meter “weaner run” for children six and under. This year, the event is expected to surpass $500,000 donated to local charities since it’s inception.
Proceeds from the Hog Jog event will support L’Arche Stratford, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of people living with intellectual disabilities. Since 1973 L’Arche Stratford has been welcoming men and women with and without intellectual disabilities to live together in community.
With four houses as well as supported-living, L’Arche Stratford is home to 26 core member individuals with disabilities. The acquisition of a Britannia Street property in 2017 has allowed L’Arche Stratford to develop a vision of a community inclusion hub. This facility will allow space to enhance the current day program, shifting from a program-centred model to an activity–based model, thereby serving a greater number of individuals living with intellectual disabilities in the Stratford area.
The Honourary Hog Jog Chairs are Brian and Marloes Aitcheson. The Aitcheson family have farmed in Downie Township for five generations. They generously support funds, time and resources to numerous foundations. Their interest in giving back to youth has committed them to various sports and athletic associations in the community. The Aitcheson family supports the cause by being industry ambassadors and believes every individual has values and gifts and should be recognized as contributing people in our society.
Speaking to the fact that OPC is primarily volunteer run, “It has been an honour to represent this volunteer organization made up of hard working and dedicated individuals from all aspects of the Ontario pork industry. It is their dedication, time and effort that makes this event so unique in a world of profit driven shows. It has been amazing to watch this show expand each year and give back to the community and to the producers that are the back bone and the reason we are able Celebrate Pork and 2019 the Year of the Pig”, says McLean.
The Ontario Pork Congress is an Ontario trade show with many educational sessions, a chef demonstration, youth live pig show, Hog Jog charity fun run, and a networking opportunity for many Ontario swine farmers.
For further information:
Gillian Greaves, Ontario Pork Congress, Promotions Committee Chair, 519-949-7475,
PO Box 23050, Stratford, ON, N5A 7V8