Nothing like pork and beer to bring out the silliness in folks.

That’s probably why Gardiner’s 3rd Annual Swine & Stein Oktoberfest has sort of morphed into an Olympics of silliness.

Certainly there will be local pork and local brews to sample, which is serious stuff. Plus performances by local bands, who take their music very seriously.

But in between all that hoopla will be a parade of potentially hilarious tests of (not much) skill, including the rubber chicken fling; the frozen T-shirt contest; the Maine championship of rock-paper-scissors; and the popular “throw the ping-pong ball into a bucket tied to your partner’s head” game.

“Yeah, we’re always brainstorming funny games to do between the bands playing,” said Patrick Wright, executive director of Gardiner Main Street, the organizing group. “This event just started as a fun fall festival.”

So funny games fit right in.

The rubber chicken fling got started because organizers decided it might be hard to find a rubber pig, never mind fling one.

But rubber chickens are plentiful at party stores, and given their long bodies, they fly pretty well once flung.

So for the fling, which is non-competitive, one person holds one end of a long elastic exercising band while a partner pulls the other end of the band, which is wrapped around the chicken.

Then, like with a giant slingshot, one person lets go and the chicken goes flying.

Since there is no competition, people of all ages and skill levels can fling chickens all day long, said Wright. Anyone is welcome to try.

“It’s like throwing horseshoes or something,” said Wright.

Another funny game at the Swine & Stein Saturday will be the frozen T-shirt contest. The night before, a number of T-shirts will be balled up and thrown in a freezer.

Then come game time Saturday, each contestant will be given a frozen ball of shirt. The person who thaws and can wear the shirt the quickest wins a yet-to-be determined prize.

So how does one thaw a frozen T-shirt?

“I don’t want to give away too many secrets, but it’s all about body heat and wetness,” said Wright. “Last year it had just rained, and there was a puddle nearby.”

Of course, the Swine & Stein is not all games. There will be lots of vendors serving local pork in a variety of foods, including sausages and pulled pork sandwiches.

There will be lots of beer too. For a $15 admission ticket ($10 in advance) you get three 5-ounce taster vouchers. The local brews on tap will include Allagash, Atlantic, Fatty Bamkins, Bar Harbor, Baxter, Geary’s, Gritty McDuff’s, Peak, Sebago and Shipyard.

The first 1,000 people through the gate get a souvenir taster glass.

There will also be local bands playing all day long, capped by Anna and The Diggs at 5:30 p.m.

But back to the games. The ping-pong ball into the bucket game might not be that silly, except when you consider the bucket will be wobbling on someone’s head. And the thrower will be asked to throw from “some distance away.”

And as for the Maine championship of rock-paper-scissors, the name might be more profound than it should be. But Wright hopes to come up with a very serious competitive set-up for that contest, including divisions and brackets for folks to compete in.

Because when you take a game as silly as rock-paper-scissors and add something as serious sounding as “brackets,” you can’t help but make the whole thing sillier.

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: RayRouthier


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