This September, The Dalles community will see the return of the Pig Bowl for its 18th year.

The Pig Bowl is a local event put on by a non-profit organization of the same name, where law enforcement from all around the Columbia River Gorge — from The Dalles to Klickitat County, White Salmon to Goldendale, from Police Officers to Dispatchers, Sheriff’s Deputies to Corrections Officers — come together to play flag football and raise money for a local family in need.

Like so many events last year, the 2020 annual Pig Bowl was canceled due to safety precautions in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It was up in the air whether or not there would be a 2021 event either, but after several recent inquiries from the public, the board for the non-profit met and unanimously decided it was time for a return.

“The community needs something positive,” said Michael Holloran, president of Pig Bowl non-profit organization. “They need something to go out and cheer for and be a part of.”

The event will take place on Sid White Field. Admissions are paid at the gate at $3 per individual or $10 per family/group. In the past they have provided their own concessions as donated by local businesses, but this year, according to Holloran, the Pig Bowl is interested in pursuing partnerships with local food trucks to provide food and refreshments during the game. He encourages interested truck owners to contact him at pigbowl@gmail.com or through their website pigbowl.net for more details.

While the players will be working hard to win for their team, most of the points are actually made off the field. It has been tradition for local businesses and individuals to pre-purchase field goals at $25, or seven-point touchdowns at $50 for the team they are rooting for. Spectators at the game can also purchase a single point for their team for $5 and a pig snort over the PA system. On top of that, it is “back by popular demand” to purchase disadvantages for the opposite team, such as paying to place boxing gloves on receivers or put linebackers in large plastic bubbles to make it harder to grab the other team’s flags. If your business wants to purchase a team advantage or disadvantage, you can purchase them at the event or go to pigbowl.net and click the “Buy a Touchdown?” link to see how.

Besides the game itself, the event will hold other family-friendly attractions. “We always have things going for the kids,” said Holloran. “We usually do bounce houses, and sometimes we have different characters … we’ve had everything from Smokey Bear and McGruff the Crime Dog, and Bobber the Water Safety Dog, and Sparky the Fire Dog … even in years past we’ve had the Mandalorian folks from Portland come down in all their Star Wars gear.” He hints that they “might have a couple things up (their) sleeves this year that might make it fun.”

The Pig Bowl is currently seeing nominations for a local family in need. If you know of a family you think should be the 2021 Pig Bowl recipient, submit your nominations to pigbowl@gmail.com with your name and phone number, the name of the family you would like to nominate along with their address and phone number (for a follow up interview if they are selected), and a brief description of why you believe they should be chosen. Submit your nominations no later than July 20, as no more nominations will be accepted after that, and please allow a few days as everyone is responded to individually.

The organization’s mission statement reads, “The mission of Pig Bowl is to rally the community together in order to provide financial and morale support for an individual or family that has been directly affected by illness, disease, injury or tragedy in the Mid-Columbia area.”

“The Pig bowl is so much more than a fun event,” said Holloran. “It’s an opportunity to gather around each other and work together for a common goal. That’s something that’s been missing for the last couple of years … the ability to not only fellowship with one another, but to come together, work together, and make a difference for someone in our community.”

While the event is confirmed for September, the offical date is (as of this publication) not yet set. For updates on the 2021 Pig Bowl event, details on how to donate, or to make a nomination, visit pigbowl.net or the Pig Bowl — The Dalles Facebook page.