Elgin's Hogeye Festival

Elgin is one of the few Texas cities that does not pretend to be a "cow town." No way, pilgrim! Cows and cowboys may add color and glamour but pigs make profit. The progressive little town, 25 miles east of Austin, proudly advertises itself as "The Sausage capital Of Texas." And every October they show their porcine preference with their Hogeye Festival. Cows are OK but pigs bring home the bacon.

Of course they have to select a king and queen, in this case King Hog and Queen Sowpreme. And what pork-patterned pageant would be complete without a greased pig chase and a hog-calling contest ?

The arts are not lost in the shuffle. They stage a children's costume and pet parade. Pork Princess, anyone? And local artists can exhibit their work in the Pearls Before Swine Art Show. Cooking spareribs is an art to the 6,000 good folks who call Elgin home, so a barbecue cook-off is included.

Remember The Supremes — The girls were headliners about three decades ago, recording dozens of hit songs. Elgin has its' own version. The Sowpremes are ladies on the wrong side of 40, dressed in hot pink boas and loud hats, who offer parodies of popular songs as well as some of the classics recorded by The Supremes. Remember this one: "Stop, In The Name Of Love." The Sowpremes changed that to "Stop, In The Name Of Pork." Another classic, "YMCA" became "PORK." In keeping with the culinary theme, "Cry Me A River" could become "Fry Me A Liver." The Sowpremes have even put out Sowpremes Sing and Sowpreme Christmas CDs.

The Hogeye highlight is the annual Cow Patty Bingo. Not your traditional Bingo, with Father O'Malley calling numbers for the old ladies at the Catholic Church every Wednesday evening. No siree, y'all.

With Cow Patty Bingo, three hay stuffed cows replace Father O'Malley.

The cows have been housed in a nearby stable all day, munching hay and waiting for their big moment. Meanwhile the city blocks off a street and chalks in borders, dividing the pavement into 1,200, one-foot squares and numbering them, creating a grid roughly l2 by l00 feet. Every numbered square is sold for $5.00.

If you are not good at math, that's $6,000.

Late that afternoon the cows are releasd into the grid. The gamblers wait with baited breath and sweaty palms for one of the bovines to make her selection. You've probably guessed it already. When the hay stuffed cow makes a deposit on one of the squares, the grand prize belongs to the whoever purchased that ticket. However, since cows are notoriously poor marksmen and bovine feces is liquid, in Elgin, Spatter Matters!

Neighboring ticket holders may share in the bonanza if some landed on his or her square. While the winners are collecting their prizes, the Sanitary Department is busy shoveling the you-know-what off the street.

Elgin was originally a railroad flag stop named Glasscock but in 1872 they changed the name to Elgin in honor of railroad commissioner Robert Morris Elgin. The title of "The Sausage Capital Of Texas" was added a few years later. The Hogeye Festival also schedules a Hogalicious Dessert contest but in keeping with Elgin's porcine title, the following recipe is for Sweet And Sour Sausages. They are delicious and very easy to prepare.


2 pounds sausage 12 oz. grape jelly

10 oz mustard

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons brown sugar


Bake sausages at 400 degress for 30 minutes. Meanhile, mix other ingredients in saucepan until comletely blended over medium heat, stirring often until completely blended. Cut sausage into bite-sized pieces, skewer with toothpicks and use sauce as dip for a tasty appetizer.

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