Oinky gets a taste of showbiz!

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Unbeknownst to the audience, the props we use on stage sometimes have a life all their own! As Fancy Free Cloggers made final adjustments to our routine for the Hee Haw show at Smoky Mountain Encore, a stuffed toy pig carried by one of my teammates was deemed too small to be visually effective. Our team seamstress has a pattern and can make one for future shows (we plan on using this dance throughout the year), but she didn't have time to create a custom pig before the trip to Tennessee.

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Enter Oinky, my project for the pinata category in the Lick Middle School Arts Festival, circa 30 years ago. My seventh-grade self commandeered the kitchen table for many a night, cutting strips of newspaper and tissue paper to create her.

Though she never won top honors, my dad took a liking to Oinky. When the Arts Festival ended, he found her a home in his office, nestled among old bowling trophies and gas station sparkle awards. The school has been torn down and a new elementary school stands in its place, but Oinky still sports a bow from the '80s and a tag identifying her as an entry from Miss Zucker's Spanish class. 

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Despite being somewhat faded and dusty (and missing a nostril), Oinky was ready for another chance to be a star! She attended practice at Fancy Free Studio and visited the "beauty shop" for glue stick touch-ups.

Alas, nothing is certain in showbiz!

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A teammate's husband underwent emergency surgery the day of the Encore show. (Happy to report he's home now and recovering well.) Donetta, who was supposed to carry Oinky in the show, had to instead take over a special role in place of our missing dancer. Oinky was cut from the routine! Donetta's son broke the news to her gently...

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Oinky was a good sport about it all. We took her backstage for the show, and Donetta still carried her for the group photo of our "Old Rattler" number.

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The fun didn't stop there; Fancy Free Cloggers took Oinky to the fun dance on Saturday night!

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Oinky even got a moment of glory when she helped me take third prize in the Hee Haw costume contest! (Thank you to Naomi and the other person who donated prize money! You bought me the Sunday lunch special at the Kentucky Artisan Center on my drive home. Much appreciated.)

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There IS the possibility for Oinky to get one more shot in "Old Rattler" - we may be performing the routine in a variety show next weekend. For now, she's taking time to relax from the excitement of Smoky Mountain Encore.

She'll have plenty of stories to tell those old bowling trophies when she once again retires to Dad's office!

Has YOUR team used any props with fun backstories?