It was an agrarian community like all others in the early 1900s, as towns in the region began to emerge along the newly laid tracks of the St Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railway. One of San Benito’s early festivities was a Cabbage Day Parade. One key aspect of the parade was the spectacle of 2,000 hogs running down the city’s main street, Sam Houston Boulevard.
It was called the Hog Waddle. The local hogs filled four blocks of city streets. One of the Hog Waddles did not go as planned. Someone apparently enjoyed the event so much that a celebratory shot was fired into the air. The hogs scattered. It reportedly took three days to round up the runaway pigs. The event was retired after that year’s troubles with the gunshot and loose pigs.
The event has been brought back in recent years by the city’s Cultural Arts Department with the Hog Waddle Country Concert & Cook-Off. There are no hogs running down Sam Houston, but there is plenty of fun with games and family activities. Cold beverages and good food highlight the event, along with live music of the Tejano and country music variety. This year’s event, the second annual, takes place May 18, at the San Benito Fairgrounds on 551 Cesar Gonzalez Parkway.
The Cultural Arts Department sees the event as a way to boost tourism by promoting the city’s history.
“The event is an amusing way for the San Benito community to celebrate a tidbit from their unique history and is an excellent way to promote and attract tourism,” said Luis Cisneros II, the cultural arts director.
Admission for the event is $5. There is no charge for children 10 and under.