NEWRY — Sunday River hosted the eighth annual end-of-season tailgate party, and the tailgating crews did not disappoint. The nearly perfect weather did its part to help. 

If you’ve ever been to the tailgate party, you know that the Pig and Swig crew, aptly named for its generous open bar and whole-pig roast, are the pioneers of the event. 

The Pig and Swig crew started tailgating at the end of the ski season eight years ago, and Sunday River Ski Resort decided to make it an official mountain event last year. The party brings locals and travelers alike to end the season and welcome summer.

The P&S crew includes five or six families who ski and snowboard together all winter, who either live locally or have vacation homes near Sunday River. 

Although now a multitude of groups come out to party in the lot of Barker Mountain Lodge, the Pig and Swig crew is still the largest and most dedicated group.

This year’s theme was “Independence Day.” Speros Vinios, the “self-proclaimed mayor of Sunday River,” was proud of the turnout. “We always overdo it,” he said. He was also proud of the pig, which he named King George “because of Independence Day.” 

Features included a larger-than-life papier-mache bald eagle, an Uncle Sam photo booth and a historically accurate Battle of Lexington beer-pong table, including the shot hear ’round the world, which Saturday was Fireball whiskey. 

“See, there’s the Minutemen, spread out because they’re hiding in the trees, and there’s the Redcoats, all huddled and in a straight line. That’s why they lost,” said Shannon, a member of the group. She declined to give her last name.

The table was special-made by Amanda Moran, a longtime member of the Pig and Swig crew and owner of Nabos, a shop in Bethel. 

“Most of the group is weekenders, people who drive up every weekend during the winter and occasionally in the summer, from Massachusetts and Rhode Island,” said Joe Moran, Amanda’s husband and acclaimed bartender. “Some of us are local, though.”

Prizes are given out to the most spirited groups, first, second and third. Of course, the Pig and Swig crew won first place this year, as they have every year since the beginning of the event. “Last year, we won all three,” Vinios said. 

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