Cindy Mitchell informed the committee that she was asked by someone why the committee had changed the date of the Mrs. Trigg County Ham Festival Pageant, and why pageant organizers told contestants that they could participate in ancillary events at the festival by virtue of appearing as a contestant in a pageant.
“This man told me that he thought the entrance money was going to the ham festival,” Mitchell said.
Committee Member Melissa Noel said that the festival asked a $50 fee to use its name to brand similar ancillary events, and that many, including that organizer, had chosen not to pay the fee and were not to use the name “Trigg County Ham Festival.” Noel added that she found the pageant’s supposed association with the Ham Festival to be “misleading.”
“Why didn’t she tell them that she was not involved with the Ham Festival? If I had to guess, I would say she didn’t know,” said Mitchell. “We’ll have to sit on her next year to comply with the rules or else ask her to sit out.”
Noel reiterated that the organizer had no affiliation with the ham festival. “If they don’t want to pay the $50 fee to be in the festival, they can’t use the name.”
Committee Chairperson Thelma Fowler noted that she understood that some funds from the event were given as a scholarship, but did not know what percentage of the proceeds were given away, or knew of any review of the organizer’s non-profit finances.
The programs at the 2007 pageant dubbed the event, “The 2007 Mrs. Trigg County-Ham Festival Pageant.”
“If anyone is going to use the Ham Festival’s name in an event, they are going to have to pay,” said Fowler.
Noel noted that by branding with the Ham Festival’s name, the event and the committee could face liability if an injury occurred at an off-site event.
The committee said that next year they would collect the branding fee more aggressively among the numerous ancillary events.
Committee Member Jeris Womack said that the festival went well, but heard complaints about the parade, with unapproved participants and paraders not permitted to smoke.
For the most thorough coverage of the Ham Festival anywhere, see your Cadiz Record.