In 1960, Tom Beimborn quit his job as a USDA meat inspector, bought a giant steer (a 6-foot-4, 3,400-pound red-and-white Holstein, to be exact) and entered the business of exhibiting exotic animals. "I jumped in with two feet, put in my two weeks' notice, bought a tent and went on the road—and I've been doing it ever since," said Beimborn, 76. His giant steer, giant horse, giant alligator, giant pig and miniature horse travel the country, giving fair- and rodeo-goers the chance to ogle their over- (or under-)sized proportions for a small fee.
Willamette Week is happy to announce that both the giant alligator and giant pig will be coming to the Oregon State Fair this year. No offense to Big Al (the gator), but there's just something about frighteningly large livestock that tickles our fancy.
Meet Harley the giant hog.
Birthplace: California. They bought him about four years ago from a farm where he was probably going to be slaughtered.
Breed: Yorkshire, age "6 or 7 years." He's expected to live 15 to 16 years—the same as a peacock in captivity.
Measurements: 4 feet tall, 8 feet long and 1,000 pounds—that's nine Justin Biebers. (An average Yorkshire pig weighs 100 to 250 pounds.)
Mmmm: He would yield 176 pounds of ham, 144 pounds of loin chops, 112 pounds of bacon, 48 pounds of sausage and 28 pounds of spareribs.
Diet: He eats 10 pounds of pig grain mixed with water and milk, twice a day. That's the equivalent of 40 orders of buttermilk pancakes from the Original Pancake House. p>Treats: "He loves elephant ears," says Harley's keeper, Greg Aubertine, of the pig's favorite fair grub. "When he eats 'em, his eyes close and he puts his head back and chews real slow. Usually he eats fast, but with elephant ears, he savors them."
Travel: He travels, by trailer, only in the summer, through Florida, California, Arizona, Oregon and Washington. He spends off months on a 15-acre farm in Florida.
Temperament: He gets angry and makes loud grunting noises only when he's hungry. "He has a personality like a 5- or 6-year-old kid," says Aubertine. "When he hears my voice he gets all excited and jumps up."
Offspring: None, to Beimborn's knowledge.
GO, MEET HARLEY: The Oregon State Fair takes places at the Oregon State Fair & Expo Center, 2330 17th St. NE, Salem, 947-3247. Friday-Monday Aug. 27-Sept. 6. Specific hours and entry info at oregonstatefair.org. $11 adults, $6 seniors and kids ages 6-11, kids 5 and under free.
THURSDAY AUG. 26
The Web's favorite comedian, Pardo with his podcast claims thousands of paying subscribers. And he deserves every last one—the dude's hilarious.
[STAGE] OH THE HUMANITY
Our Shoes Are Red/The Performance Lab presents five short plays by the enigmatic writer of Thom Pain, sure to feature beautiful, inscrutable turns of phrase delivered in an urgent monotone. The Church, 602 NE Prescott St., firstname.lastname@example.org. 8 pm Thursdays-Saturdays, 2 pm Sundays. Closes Sept. 12. $10 suggested donation.
[DISH] FESTA ITALIANA
For three days Pioneer Courthouse Square becomes Piazza Italia as all things Italian—food, wine, opera, grape stomping—converge on the square. Pioneer Courthouse Square, 701 SW 6th Ave. Noon-11 pm Thursday, noon-midnight Friday, 11 am-11 pm Saturday, Aug. 26-28. Free. Info at festa-italiana.org.
FRIDAY AUG. 27
Calling all fancy-pants, microbrew-drinking Portland beer snobs! O'Malley's Pub is throwing a festival that pays homage to "the beer that everybody drinks but is afraid to admit." Leave your 3-oz. cup and wooden coins at home—this festival is strictly macro, as in back in the days of Rainier and Oly.
SATURDAY AUG. 28
Portland's best PBR-swiggin', Elvis Costello-lovin' garage rock band releases its latest record.
SUNDAY AUG. 29
Jana Hunter's excellent new band is more psych-rock than freak-folk—and that's a good thing.
TUESDAY AUG. 31
It's like a mini-Pitchfork fest! Even if you're not a Vampire Weekend bro, seeing Beach House and Dum Dum Girls outside is hard to pass up.