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Guyandotte cleans up for SwineFest

Sep. 05, 2010 @ 12:00 AM

GUYANDOTTE -- It might have been the fewest amount of city trash bins filled during a bi-annual cleanup in Guyandotte, but Rick Simmons said that doesn't mean it was unsuccessful.

"The less you get the better you've done," said Simmons, the lead organizer for next Saturday's fourth annual Swinefest, about Saturday's community cleanup. "If it's busy, then something ain't right."

Simmons said Guyandotte is a lot cleaner than it was in 2008, when he pulled together resources to hold the first major community cleanup prior to the first Swinefest that September.

The Huntington Adopt A Block/Litter Gitter program has helped by getting gloves, litter pickup sticks and trash bags, while the city of Huntington has provided the large trash receptacles, a front loader and workers for the cleanups.

Simmons, who grew up in Guyandotte, spent 20 years working in Indiana before returning in 2007. He said the community he left was not the one he returned to.

But he is hopeful it is getting there.

"When we first started this, we took out eight dumpsters in four hours," Simmons said. "The second time it was four, and the third time it was two."

He also noted that new trash cans and benches, purchased through Community Block Grant funds, have helped make the community look better.

"There's less litter, less crime. Where there is positive, negative doesn't want to be around it," he said.

There are still areas of Guyandotte that need attention, though, Simmons said. And, he said they will be addressed much like volunteers took care of Bellvue Road and Hilltop Drive. Simmons said the three illegal dump sites that were in that area before have now been cleaned up.

The free time allowed Simmons and some other volunteers to work on signage and posters for Swinefest 2010, which starts Thursday, Sept. 9 and runs through Saturday, Sept. 11.

The theme for this year's SwineFest will be "A Hillbilly Homecoming." Many themed events will take place, including country music, a husband hollerin' contest, a hog calling contest, a corn on the cob eating contest, an old-fashioned country charity auction, and Saturday will be WTCR Day at SwineFest.

The kick-off parade will be at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 9. The parade's grand marshals are Sonny and Sharie Knight, owner of Hillbilly Hot Dogs.

SwineFest is the anchor event for SwineFest Solutions, which is a non-profit organization that conducts events to enhance the revitalization of the Guyandotee community. The group has two community clean-ups a year, an Easter ham give-away to needy families of the community among other things.

This past April, SwineFest Solutions passed out close to 200 hams to needy families during the Easter season. SwineFest Solutions also has a Safe Trick or Trick Street Party for more than 800 children in the Guyandotte community.

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