HARROD — Fresh fried pork rinds are back this weekend with the return of the Pork Rind Heritage Festival on Friday and Saturday, bringing two days of 90s rock tribute bands, family entertainment and helicopter rides from American Huey 369 to Harrod.
Dozens of Vietnam War veterans are expected to partake in the festival, turning the festival into a miniature reunion for members of the 176th assault helicopter company who flew the restored aircraft that will be on display in Harrod 50 years ago.
The Huey flight reunions have become part of the healing process for Vietnam-era veterans, said Steve Kerchenfaut, himself a Vietnam veteran and member of the Auglaize Township Historical Society and festival committee.
“That sound brings back memories,” Kerchenfaut said, stirring emotions of past traumas that some veterans have not dealt with since returning home from war.
The flights will also be available to anyone attending the festival who purchases a $100 membership. Each flight is roughly 7-8 minutes, Kerchenfaut said.
The Pork Rind Heritage Festival began in 1989 during the village’s centennial celebration. Today, the annual festival is sponsored by pork rind manufacturer Rudolph Foods, drawing hundreds of tourists and Harrod residents to sample the pork rinds each year.
Festival-goers will have their choice of cracklins, tenders and regular pork rinds, available in barbecue and traditional flavors.
Live entertainment this year will showcase 90s rock, Fleetwood Mac and Eagles tribute bands, along with Ohio musicians from the Sugar Creek Country Band.