An annual fund-raiser for a Chester County volunteer fire department has been scuttled due to protests over pork.
The Malvern Fire Company was set to host its sixth annual pig roast Aug. 4 but has canceled the event after numerous calls, complaints, and threats of protests over the animal being cooked and served, according to company officials. It was unclear who made the complaints.
Fire Chief Chris Gastwirth confirmed the event’s cancellation, saying that alternative plans will be discussed by his colleagues and their board of trustees at a closed-door meeting Wednesday. He declined to comment further, referring questions to Matt Miles, the company’s assistant chief and president of its board.
Miles did not immediately return a request for comment.
Jim Rapp, Malvern’s deputy fire chief, posted in a community forum on Facebook that the company was considering “a movie night along with food trucks at the Paoli Memorial Grounds in the next few months.”
The pig roast debuted at the firehouse in 2013 as a fund-raising opportunity for the volunteer company, whose ranks include about 70 members, according to its website.
Organizers of last year’s fund-raiser charged $15 for “a roast pig dinner with sides, dessert, and drinks,” according to a flyer for the event. An additional $10 netted attendees “all-you-can-drink beer.”
Christopher Bashore, Malvern’s borough manager, said the pig roast is an independent event, and the borough staff had no involvement in the decision to cancel it. He added that his office hadn’t received any complaints about the pig roast being held this year.
As news of the cancellation circulated this week, outraged residents took to social media to voice their concerns and confusion.
“I think things like pig roasts, barbecues or fairs are hallmarks of an old fashioned summer, and I think in the world we live in today, these community events mean even more to people than they used to because there are so few left,” said Carla Zambelli Mudry, who wrote about the issue on her blog, Chester County Ramblings.
“I understand that not everyone is going to like a pig on a spit, but don’t go, or eat something else,” she added. “I think it’s wrong to shut down a community event, especially for a fire company that doesn’t have a big budget and needs the community’s support.”
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