While most people are reading the newspaper or scrolling their Facebook feed in the morning, the Harding family of Kyabram, Australia, is tuning in to the Pig Cam at the Orange County fairgrounds’ Centennial Farm.
After months of watching the pigs from 8,000 miles away via livestream on the OC Fair & Event Center website, the family finally got to see them in person Wednesday in Costa Mesa.
“We started watching in September and just fell in love with the pigs ever since,” Kerry Harding said.
Harding, 65, was browsing online for fairs to visit in America when she discovered the Pig Cam over the summer. She shared it with her husband, Alan, and their son, Adam, and watching the pigs became a shared part of their daily routines.
When Adam Harding, 35, noticed the camera was down one day, he messaged Centennial Farm on Facebook.
Terry Moore, communications director for the fairgrounds, said the staff was excited to learn that a family from Australia was enjoying the Pig Cam, which is billed on the website as “cuteness overload all day long.”
Adam describes it as “stress relief.”
“It’s great for me because I work at an airport and I’m often at work overnight, so if I’m bored and have nothing to do, I switch on the Pig Cam,” he said. “They’re all active, they’re running around, carrying on, one’s annoying the other ... it’s quite fun to watch.”
When Adam mentioned to Moore that the family was planning a vacation to the United States that included an eight-day Disneyland trip, she invited them to stop at Centennial Farm for a tour.
When they arrived at the fairgrounds Wednesday, the family, including Adam’s wife, Lisa, and their son, Thomas, went straight to see the beloved pigs, calling out to them with the names they had assigned based on their behaviors.
“The runt is named after my other son because he’s always annoying everybody,” Kerry said with a laugh.
Kerry and Alan are retired dairy farmers of 26 years. Though being around livestock is familiar to them, they had only one pig during that time.
“We called him Kevin Bacon after … the actor,” Kerry said. “But we only had him to … eat him — he was delicious.”
During the visit, Kerry suggested several “improvements” to the fair staff, including the addition of a toy ball hanging from a rope instead of the existing ball that the piglets often push under things and lose sight of. She also wants to see a nativity scene on display soon since a pregnant pig is due to deliver on Christmas Eve.
“I haven’t had my fill,” Kerry said as the tour moved on to other animals. “I could stay here for ages.”
The family left for Hawaii on Wednesday night and planned to keep up with the pigs online during their travels.