It’s almost time for the annual Cork & Pork Festival in Sainte Marie! Jasper County is the 7th largest pork producing county in the State of Illinois, so it seemed only fitting to promote a home-grown product and pair it with wine from Illinois wineries.

The 5th Annual Cork & Pork Festival will be held at Piquet Park in Sainte Marie on Saturday, July 13th starting at 12 noon. Plans are being finalized and sponsorships have been pouring in to help with the event. Great adult entertainment will include wine tasting from eight area wineries; an abundance of delicious pork provided by JBS and cooked by Hartrich Meats in Sainte Marie and the Jasper County Pork Producers; great live music; a beer garden and souvenirs.

New this year will be a Cork & Pork Jeep Run – sponsored by McClane Motor Sales in Newton, in memory of John Lybarger. John had served on the Cork & Pork committee since the beginning and has been sorely missed since his passing on November 7, 2018. He was always willing to help whenever and wherever he was needed. Registration for the Jeep Run will begin at 10:00 am on Saturday, July 13th at Picquet Park in Sainte Marie by the water tower and the Jeep Run will leave promptly at 11:00 am. All people who are riding together in a jeep, please register together if possible. Cost will be $10 per person with the profits going to Cork & Pork. The stops will include MVP Happy Holler, Irene’s Vineyard, The Hill and Hi Benders; who also helped sponsor the shirts and prizes. The jeep run will end up back at the Cork & Pork Festival. Others contributing prizes for the jeep run are Farley Insurance, Weiss Renovations, Circle K, Marathon One Stop Shoppe, Kramer Trucking and the Cork & Pork Festival. Prizes will be given out for the jeep run between 4:00-5:00 pm in the beer garden at the Cork & Pork Festival and you must be present to win. The Pork Food Stand will have a limited amount of pork burgers available for sale for the “jeepers” to take along on the ride. It will be available on a first come first served.

The Cork & Pork Festival is featuring a great music lineup. There will be DJ music from noon-1:00 pm, Jake Martin from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm; The Smoke Rings from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm and the band Superbad will wind up the evening starting around 7:30 pm until 11:30 pm. Immediately after Superbad, the Cork & Pork Festival will shut down, the beer garden will be closed and people will be asked to leave, to keep within the boundaries of the liquor license and liquor liability insurance.

Wineries participating are: Lasata Wines, Vahling Vineyards, Homestead Vineyards; Kite Hill Vineyards, Fox Creek Vineyards, Castle Finn Vineyards & Winery, Irene’s Vineyard and new this year will be Lincoln Heritage Winery. For a $10 donation, you receive a Cork & Pork Festival wine glass and limited wine tastings will be offered by the wineries who will also be selling wine by the glass, bottle or case for your enjoyment. So please do not take advantage of the tastings…when you decide on the wine you like, you may purchase it from your favorite winery/wineries. Wine Tasting hours are slated from Noon until 7:00 pm but the wineries are welcome to stay later but not required. You must be over 21 years of age and you will be required to show an ID. Your wine tasting wrist band will also get you into the beer garden…but please note if you do not have a wine tasting wrist band, you will be required to show your ID and receive a wrist band to get into the beer garden. IT’S THE LAW and required for the liability insurance, so please be cooperative!

Starting at noon the Cork & Pork Food Stand will begin serving mouthwatering pulled pork with a choice of Squatter’s Knob BBQ Sauce or Doug McCain’s Gourmet Bar-B-Q Sauce, the official BBQ sauces of the Cork & Pork Festival. The Porkcicle (America’s Cut loin chop on a stick); Pork Burgers; DaBurger sandwiches and Pulled Pork Nachos will be available as well. As stated before, the pork food stand will have a limited amount of pork burgers available for sale for the “jeepers” to take along on the ride. To keep people hydrated, bottled water will be offered for sale as well in the food stand thanks to Tractor Supply Company in Newton. There will be a beer garden featuring both Gray’s Wholesale and Koerner Distributing products; so, a variety of beverages will be available, also starting at noon.

The Cork & Pork Festival, which came about as a fund raiser for the Sainte Marie Foundation with the help of the Jasper County Pork Producers and Hartrich Meats, has grown to help many other organizations in Jasper County. The Cork & Pork Festival Committee was able to distribute $27,000.00 after the 2018 event and to date (over four years) has donated over $86,000.00 back to the community.

The Cork & Pork Festival is manned by over 200 volunteers working 2-hour shifts the day of the event. They also rely on volunteers for set-up, which will be on Friday, July 12th at 5:00 pm and for clean-up on Sunday, July 14th starting at 10:30 am. If you would like to help with set-up and clean-up…just show up at those times and your help will be greatly appreciated. Community volunteers working together can accomplish much! So…dress cool; bring your lawn chairs and we’ll see you at the Sainte Marie Cork & Pork Festival on Saturday, July 13th starting at noon or 10 am for you “jeepers”! For more information about the festival, please check out their Facebook page. Thanks for supporting the Cork & Pork Festival in Sainte Marie!