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Pig is a guest, not an entree, at fake wedding


Here comes the bride.

All dressed in white.

Followed by a sow in blue tutu.

That was the scene at Carroll County Farm Museum yesterday as children's author Sally Foster tried to capture it on film for her next book, tentatively titled, "The Pig Who Came to a Wedding."

"This is based on a true story," Ms. Foster said, noting that the pig in her tale lived in Monkton with the author's longtime friend, Eleanor Weller, for many years.

"I'm glad it was a nice day and not hot like it was this weekend," she said. "Otherwise, we would have had roast pig, and that was definitely not what I had in mind."

At yesterday's mock wedding and reception, it appeared that Ms. Foster -- the author of four children's books -- was the only one in the party of adults and children who knew what she had in mind as she shepherded people and pig through the photo shoot.

"No, not the whole plate!" she told the young woman who was portraying a guest and feeding the 550-pound swine sandwiches.

The pig in yesterday's wedding is Penelope, a champion brood sow owned by Ken Bauer of Woodbine.

Yesterday's photo shoot capped two months of work in which Ms. Foster re-created her story of the Wellers' hog -- who was named Charlotte -- and how she got to attend a family wedding.

Ms. Weller's "kids wanted the pig to be invited to the wedding next door, which was their aunt's," she said. "They were trying to decide what she should wear and finally decided on a tutu."

At that fete, 900-pound Charlotte -- who adored chocolate -- escaped from her pen as the caterer finished cleaning up after the party, sneaked into a tent and ate the last of the wedding cake.

"All that was left was the little bride and groom," said Ms. Foster, who at one time free-lanced for The Sun and News American.

The book, which Ms. Foster intends to send to her agent within a few weeks, has yet to be accepted by a publisher. But, she said, "I don't see how this could miss."

Ironically, museum officials had just gotten permission to hire Kate VanFossen as a wedding coordinator when Ms. Foster called with her request to use their facilities, said Dottie Freeman, the museum's administrator.

"The very next call was about the pig wedding," said Ms. Freeman. She said that became Ms. VanFossen's first nuptial to organize at the museum.

"At first, it almost seemed like a prank," Ms. Freeman said. "But then I realized this woman was very serious."

Ms. Freeman said she was concerned that Penelope might root through the museum's flower gardens, which are carefully tended by volunteers.

But Ms. Foster agreed to pay for any damage the sow caused.

"I'm very glad she behaved herself," Ms. Foster laughed.

Ms. Foster earlier had worked with Penelope, Mr. Bauer's son Kenny and his niece, Jill Harrison, at least four times before the mock wedding, taking pictures of them bathing the hog, dressing her up and trying to feed her Oreo cookies. Karen Graham portrayed the bride at the mock wedding and she will actually be getting married this fall.

Penelope's owners were as surprised as Ms. Foster that the sow has behaved so well.

"She's acted like she's known what's going on from day one," said Connie Seiler, Mr. Bauer's fiancee.

"We just picked her out of a herd of 100 hogs. But she's been so cooperative, it's like she knows she's going to be featured in a book. She's just been adorable," said Ms. Seiler.

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