United Way’s Swine, Wine & Craft Festival Returns

Returning to defend his title, Shawn Anastasia of Olean, NY

Returning to defend his title, Shawn Anastasia of Olean, NY will be back with his “special top-secret” sauce. Teams are encouraged to enter in the amateur rib cook-off contest. Photo/Shawn Anastasia

2nd Annual Celebration Features Art, Home Brews, and Rib Teams All Competing for a Cause

There’s a kickoff event coming up that is sure to create squeals of delight for fans of BBQ, beer and good bands.

On Saturday, Sept. 8 at War Vets Park in Olean, NY, the United Way will host its 2nd Annual Swine and Wine Festival, with plenty of food, fun and festivities for the community to enjoy.

“It’s a fundraiser for the United Way - our kickoff event,” said Candy Plants, Director for the United Way. “The last few years, we’ve done a barbeque. It’s unique, and there’s something for everyone, including a bounce house for kids, fun activities, and a beer tent for adults.”

Rib Cook-Off

Part of the Swine and Wine fun focuses on an amateur rib cook-off contest. Teams can enter and compete for a cast-iron pig trophy and the honor of being recognized for “The Best Ribs of the Southern Tier.”

Last year, Shawn Anastasia of Olean, won the event … after never having cooked a rib in his life.

“They had a poster at my workplace advertising the event,” Shawn said of last year’s festival. “I had never smoked or cooked a rib ever, but I like to cook, and I thought it would be cool to participate.”

To prepare for the competition, Shawn said he turned to the Food Network.

“I watch the Food Network a lot,” he said, noting that he viewed 17 episodes of Diner’s Drive-ins and Dives during a summer special. “[Host] Guy Fieri went around the country to different places, and each time they showed how to make the sauce and rubs, some of which had special ingredients. I took all the special top-secret ingredients, and I added them all together … and I won.”

Shawn said he was amazed at the results because his competition included some top-notch ribbers, including a contestant who brought a Ford F-450 with a rotisserie and smoke stack.

“I had borrowed an upright slow-cooker and thought I would give it a shot,” he said. “When I saw this guy, I thought I was done, but when my partner and I won, I was in total shock. I still, to this day, can’t believe it.”

If you haven’t tasted what Shawn and his No Clue BBQ team has to offer, make sure to attend this year’s festival because he is coming back.

“I’m keeping my sauce the same. There’s nothing different,” he said, adding that he is bringing his new special cooker, which he designed himself.

“It’s an Amish smoker,” Shawn said. “I designed it, and they made it.”

According to Candy, the United Way is still accepting registrations for the rib contest, the wine and beer demonstrations, and the craft vendors.

“We need more teams,” she said. “There’s a fee to enter the rib contest, but there’s no fee to enter the home brew competition for area beer and wine. We currently have over 20 vendors for food and crafts, but there’s still booth space available.”

Artist Spotlight

Kay Brooks of the Belmont/Scio area, is among the artists attending this year’s festival. Kay creates pottery using a gas kiln with heavy reduction, which she said creates brilliant, beautiful colors.

“I’ve been making pottery since 1987, and I specialize in mostly functional pieces, like dinnerware,” she said. “I make teapots, casseroles, plates and other items in about six or seven colors. Because I fire in the gas kiln, there are unusual, unique colors.”

Although she attends numerous festivals around the area, this is Kay’s first appearance at the Swine and Wine Festival.

“I’m looking forward to it. It’s a new experience for me, a new show and new people,” she said. “My pottery is finely crafted, hand-thrown pottery in beautiful, vibrant colors, and I am excited to display and sell it.”

There's More!

In addition to crafts, swine, wine and beer, festival-goers can also enjoy a live music tent and other local shows. This year’s event also features a dice run, which begins at 10am.

“We’re very excited about this year’s festival,” Candy said. “It’s sponsored by Five Star Bank, and we can’t wait for the community to come out and enjoy the event.”

Shawn added, “The event is so neat because it will bring in a melting pot of people, and it’s supporting a good cause. The United Way goes above and beyond by leaps and bounds to help people. They are always there.”

For more information or to register for the Swine and Wine Festival, visit www.uwcattco.org or call the United Way Office at 716-372-3620.

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