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In this 2016 file photo, Logan Bennett tosses cooked pork chops into a bin while helping at the Rock County Pork Fest at the Rock County 4-H Fairgrounds in Janesville.

JANESVILLE

Visitors who attend Rock County Pork Fest this week will chow down on the staple that has kept people coming back for 50 years—fresh, sizzling pork chops.

The event celebrates its golden anniversary from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Rock County 4-H Fairgrounds, 1301 Craig Ave. Drive-up service begins at 4 p.m., while walk-in service commences at 5 p.m.

Diners can buy a one-chop meal for $9 or a two-chop meal for $10. Besides the pork, meals will include potato salad, applesauce, a roll and a nonalcoholic beverage. Desserts are also available for a separate charge.

Visitors can also buy a bag of four uncooked pork chops for $10 or a jar of seasoning for $10, said Rock County Pork Producers President Randy Kleven.

Unlike last year, the fest will not include a classic car show, but it will feature live music from country-rock band Crossfire.

Although sales stop around 7 p.m., customers can hang around until the band stops performing to eat and enjoy the music, Kleven said.

Proceeds will help fund the organization’s scholarships and other annual events held throughout the county. All of the money returns to the community, he said.

Pork Fest will honor some of its past scholarship recipients on its 50th anniversary.

The Rock County Pork Producers have ordered more than 25,000 pork chops and hope to sell 7,300 meals. That would surpass last year’s total of 7,100, he said.

If there are leftover, uncooked pork chops at the end of the night, people can call the fair office or UW Extension to arrange a time to meet Kleven at the fairgrounds to buy extra chops, he said.

Kleven said it’s hard for people to find a high-quality pork chop meal for such a low price while also supporting a good cause. And the social fabric of the event makes it even more special.

“It’s just the camaraderie of the people coming. I look at it as a big family get-together,” Kleven said. “A lot of times you might not see a person since last year’s Pork Fest. You can pick up your conversation from previous years.

“It’s like a big family picnic.”

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