You know you’re important when you’re given a seven-week retirement send-off.
Seven Weeks of Kevin, as it’s been called, is how the Grounds of Alexandria is celebrating the impending departure of its most famous resident, the large white pig known as Kevin Bacon.
A parade of dishes and drinks inspired by big ol’ Kev have been rolled out over the past few weeks and the festival culminates on Sunday August 19 with Kevin Bacon Day, after which he’ll be sent to a farm in Forster to live out his days frolicking in the mud. And we’re not using “farm” as a euphemism here – he’s moving to Riverside Farm Escape in Nabiac, three hours north of Sydney.
“We thought it would be good to get him into a farm where he could be a normal pig,” says Grounds brand director Dan Mylonas. “The [Riverside Farm Escape] family came down a month ago with their little kids and introduced themselves to Kev – they’re really excited.”
For a pet pig, Bacon has had a tumultuous life. He moved into the Grounds Garden animal farm five years ago and was pig-napped not long after. CCTV footage captured a couple breaking into the complex and abducting him, along with Bradley the lamb.
The news of the theft went viral and Bacon became the most famous pig in Australia. The Grounds offered a $5000 reward but it wasn’t needed – he was eventually handed in to an animal sanctuary in Victoria, where his microchip was scanned. Bacon had been bitten by a snake and was in a bad way.
“It seemed like too much of a quirky story to be a real thing so people thought it was a stunt,” says Mylonas, “but it wasn’t.”
Mylonas says although he’s happy Bacon is off to a larger home, he will be missed. “It’s the end of an era. He’s an integral part of the Grounds, but it’s time,” he says.
It’s not just the staff who will be sad. “When we take him for a walk around the block – we sometimes take him to Sydney Park, too – you see a line of kids following him like the Pied Piper. I grew up in the country so I am used to seeing stock, but when he’s out on the beat doing his thing, for children in the city it’s a special thing.”
As well as having the opportunity to say goodbye to the celebrity pig, Kevin Bacon Day will feature a farewell two-course brunch in The Potting Shed, face-painting and dress ups for the kids. The Grounds will also be serving pig-inspired food – such as the Pig Out cake and a cocktail called The Pig Tail (boom-tish). There’ll be entertainment, and attendees will meet “Kevin Bacon II”, a slightly smaller, younger version of Kevin Bacon I.
“Yeah, he will be called Kevin Bacon II,” says Mylonas, laughing. “It’s like adopting the royal name when you take over the thrown, but he’ll go by Kev at other times.”
(People will be able to visit Bacon at Riverside Farm Escape, which also offers on-site camping.)
Kevin Bacon Day is on Sunday August 19 at The Grounds of Alexandria.