GRAND FORKS, N.D. – The praise and accolades keep rolling in for longtime Grand Forks Herald food columnist Marilyn Hagerty, who became famous overnight early last year when a review of the local Olive Garden went viral.
This time though, the recognition is coming from people a bit closer to home. Organizers of Grand Forks’ Happy Harry’s Beer and Bacon Festival announced in a press release earlier this week that the restaurant that wins the contest for best bacon recipe will not only get bragging rights for the year, but the restaurant will also be bestowed the inaugural “Hog-erty” Award winner and receive a framed caricature of Hagerty to hang on their restaurant wall.
According to the press release, six celebrity judges, one of them being Hagerty herself, will chose which restaurant wins the award, designed to pay tribute to Hagerty. Other celebrity judges will include the local mayor, the owner of the sponsoring bottle shop and some other media types. The festival takes place Saturday at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks.
The caricature of Hagerty was drawn by Greg Dohlen, a well-known caricature artist.
“I am excited that all of the judges were available to be a part of the inaugural ‘Hog-erty’ Award,” Alerus Center Assistant Director Bob LeBarron was quoted in the press release. “I think it’s a wonderful, yet lighthearted, way to honor Marilyn Hagerty for all of her work in promoting the Grand Forks region throughout her career.”
This new honor also caught the attention of national media writer Jim Romensko, who posted about the “Hog-erty” award on his blog jimromensko.com. He also wrote about Hagerty’s ride on the fame train last year when she honored by USA Today founder Al Neuharth and when her Olive Garden review went viral.
In early 2012, that review exploded on the Internet thanks to social media sites. Many readers found it amusing that a chain restaurant would be reviewed, a scenario that wouldn’t happen in large market media. Others supported Hagerty because they said the quaintness of the review was refreshing and sincere. The resulting fervor resulted in Hagerty being invited onto the Anderson Cooper television show several times and the publishing of a book of Hagerty’s reviews called “Grand Forks: A History of American Dining in 128 Reviews,” which was produced in collaboration with renowned chef and TV commentator Anthony Bourdain.
The Grand Forks Herald is owned by Forum Communications Co., a multimedia information company based in Fargo, N.D. FCC owns dozens of newspapers, websites and television and radio stations, and commercial printing plants in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.