HEBRON — The all-outdoor event formerly known as the Redneck Olympics starts today on dusty fields in Hebron and Minot, 10 days before the Summer Olympic Games in Rio — and 5,000 miles away.

The local games — renamed the Redneck Blank, Pig Roast and Music Festival after the U.S. Olympic Committee threatened to sue organizer Harold Brooks for trademark infringement — premiered in 2010 as a camping, dancing, mud-running, wife-carrying, beer-drinking event.

Asked whether this year’s Redneck event would mark the upcoming Rio games in some way, Brooks said no.

“We’re not trying to taunt them,” he said. “Obviously, they’ve got enough problems down there. I would rather be putting on this event than that event.”

“This event” started as a weekend party and has since grown to a four-day festival that draws thousands of visitors down Route 124 to 12 Harold Lane. There are no reservations, so campers who want sites in the same location as past years started arriving early this week.

“People just want the same spot for no real reason,” Brooks said. “I can’t figure it out, to be honest with you. There are some people who camp every year down in a hole. The hole floods every year, but they’re already set up.”

On Wednesday, Brooks brought in 40 porta potties — which he called the most important equipment on site.

He has the portable toilets cleaned every day so they don’t fill up, he said. Sanitation and order are important to Brooks, he said, because he likes the family-friendly atmosphere of the party.

The schedule of events will look familiar to those who have attended in the past, including Saturday’s “Run Your Truck” mud runs.

“We might change a few of the games around,” Brooks said, “but the flavor stays basically the same. Same amount of bands. What changes every year is the amount of people” attending.

“We’ll put them on the front lawn at my house if we run out of space,” he said.

Although the schedule hasn’t changed, Brooks has beefed up security this year by hiring Maine State Police officers, one on Friday night and two on Saturday.

“We have zero tolerance for violence” at the festival, he said. “We don’t want tough guys. Tough guys can go somewhere else.”

He said State Police will watch for underage drinking and people preparing to drive from the festival after drinking. Police and festival organizers will seize and dump alcohol from anyone under 21 years old, Brooks said, and will stop people from driving off the grounds if necessary.

“Get a camping pass — sleep in your car if you have to,” he said, calling anyone who drinks and drives “selfish.”

“This year, the weather is supposed to be mint,” Brooks said of the weekend forecast. “It is the perfect weather for this event,” hot and humid, although he does hope for showers before Friday night to help keep the dust down on the fields. “I’ve always believed that 50 percent of people who come to this festival decide the day they’re packing up to go” based on the weather, and “Saturday is supposed to be beautiful.

“I really want people to have a good time,” he said. “It’s something I like doing and I’m proud of.”

After hearing from veterans, retirees and people with disabilities who haven’t been able to attend the festival in the past because they don’t get their benefit checks until the first of the month, this year, Brooks said he would allow those on fixed incomes to post-date checks to pay entry fees, rather than not come.

“This whole festival has always been about not judging people,” he said, including those with limited incomes. “Everybody is the same,” he said, and “to be judgmental like that is, like, just back off.”

He said he’s also made an effort to keep food vendor costs down so people can afford to eat on site. There will be no $8 Redneck beers, he said.

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What: Redneck Blank, Pig Roast and Music Festival

When: 8 a.m. Thursday, July 28, to 5 p.m. Sunday, July 31. Entrance gate will be locked at midnight and reopened at 7 a.m. each day.

Where: 12 Harold Lane (off Route 124), Hebron

Cost: Four-day weekend pass, which includes campsite, $45 in advance or $50 at the gate

Restrictions: No glass bottles. No dogs. No campfires.

FMI, including schedule, directions and tickets: eventbrite.com/e/the-redneck-blank-pigroast-and-music-festival-tickets-17471160712


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