Annual Pigtown Festival
Saturday October 10, 2015
Oink! Oink! Ahoy mates! Fall is officially here. ARGH! Fare thee well hot and humid summer and hello all the festivals and fairs. On Saturday October 10th, is the 14th annual Pigtown Festival on Washington Boulevard starting at 12:00 PM. Before I go further, let me explain…you’re probably scratchin’ yer heads and wonderin’ why we call it ‘Pigtown’!
Well Pigtown is also known as Washington Village. The neighborhood acquired its name during the second half of the 19th century, when the area was the site of butcher shops and meat packing plants to process pigs transported from the Midwest on the B&O Railroad; they were herded across Ostend and Cross Streets to be slaughtered and processed.
Pigtown was originally part the Mount Clare plantation, a 2,368-acre estate owned by Dr. Charles Carroll in the 18th century. Carroll built one of Maryland's first iron foundries on the property, which operated the largest pig iron furnace in the colonies prior to the American Revolution. Dr. Carroll was a cousin of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, who signed the Declaration of Independence.
In 1827, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was founded in Baltimore. Ground was broken on the Mount Clare property in 1828, with the first stone laid by Charles Carroll of Carrollton, at the age of 90. Initially providing service between Baltimore and Ellicott Mills (now Ellicott City, Maryland), the railroad began operating along West Pratt Street on May 22, 1830. The horse drawn cars of the early B&O Railroad were the nation's first regular passenger rail.
Construction of the first houses to the north and south of the railroad yards began in 1833. A community of railroad workers grew along Columbia Avenue (now Washington Boulevard) in the 1840s, followed by industrial development in the 1850s and 1860s. Slaughter houses located near the railroad yards earned the area its name as Pigtown as workers herded pigs for slaughter and processing to shops and packing plants across the streets from the rail cars.
Although official records have identified the neighborhood as Washington Village at various points since the 1970s, it has been consistently labeled as Pigtown since 2006 at the insistence of community groups such as Southwest Community Council, Inc.
Thus the community was famously known for it’s spectacle of pigs weaving through the neighborhood! Today, the pig represents Pigtown’s rich, deep roots and unique personality.
And that’s the history of Pigtown. Now enough of the history, let’s talk festival! This year I’m going with my friend Fin, the Shark from the Pier 5 Hotel. He loves attending festivals. Last year we went and it was fun. To put it into perspective, it was as if I finally caught the lost tennis ball that my father tossed into seas years back. The festival is filled with live music, many delicious consumptions from food to drinks and of course pig races. That was and forever will be Fin’s favorite event to watch. My favorite part of the event is the Bottomless Drink Pass for unlimited beer, wine and cocktails at the Pigtown Festival. This year we will knock your knickers off! It should be fun, we hope to see you there!