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RHFD Spring Fling fun for all, except maybe the pig
'American Idol' contestant Liv Annalise talks with fans after performing Saturday at the Richmond Hill Fire Department's Spring Fling. - photo by Ted O'Neil

Wilbur may never be the same again, but it was all for a good cause.

Local celebrities tried to raise the most money and avoid kissing the pig Saturday at J.F. Gregory Park as part of the Richmond Hill Fire Department’s 2nd Annual Spring Fling. The event supports the department’s “Operation Presents Under the Tree,” which provides Christmas presents for children in need.

Capt. Brendon Greene said when everything is said and done, “more than double” the $6,200 raised last year will go toward the program. Firefighters were able to buy presents for 125 children last year.

Randy Bocook, the main sponsor of the event, presented Fire Chief Ralph Catlett with a check for $2,000. Catlett had said he wanted to name the 8-week-old pig “Crispy P. Bacon,” but was overruled by department members, who chose the name Wilbur, taken from the pig in “Charlotte’s Web.”

Those raising money to avoid kissing Wilbur were Bocook, Richmond Hill Mayor Russ Carpenter, Councilwoman Tara Baraniak, Ron Elliott of Georgia Game Changers, McAllister Elementary School Principal Bivins Miller, Kristi Cox from United Way and Amy Beasley, a science teacher at Richmond Hill Middle School.

The group raised almost $4,900, led by Miller at $1,747. He came on stage dressed as “Mr. Incredible,” much to the delight of several McAllister students in attendance. He was a good sport though, and still kissed Wilbur.

The day-long event included bounce houses, face painting, tours of fire trucks and a corn hole tournament. Several vendors in the pavilion at the park were selling food as well as arts and crafts, while food trucks from Sweet Spice, Little Diddle’s Sweetery and Kona Ice saw a constant stream of customers.

A 50-50 raffle and dunk tank also helped raise money. Ron and Sandra Elliott also planned to donate 10 percent of Saturday’s sales from Georgia Game Changers.

Entertainment was provided by JK Productions and Liv Annalise, a local “American Idol” contestant, performed.

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