Connecticut's Gilbert the Party Pig was resting from a busy weekend when Daily Voice spoke with his owner Michelle Burns about his full-time job as an entertainer.
The Greenwich native had a party-packed three days appearing at several birthday parties in Connecticut and Rhode Island. Despite having a day off, Gilbert was itching to get back to business.
"Pigs are very social animals and they need stimulation and they get bored easily," Burns said. "So it's great that he likes to do this stuff."
Burns never imagined her pet pig would develop such a huge following after coming into her life in March 2020. Gilbert's first gig was helping children learn about pigs at a Stamford classroom in January 2022. After that moment, Gilbert's life changed forever.
"I just made a page on Facebook where I'm just thinking maybe it would be like a once a month thing," Burns explained. "After I did that one school, I had texts, emails, voicemails, instant messages, I mean, everything known to man. I couldn't even keep up."
People were requesting Gilbert to come to everything from nursing homes to birthday parties. He now brings joy to people all over New England with his special brand of entertainment.
"It's something different," Burns said. "There's service dogs, I guess that's like the norm. People see service dogs at a grocery store, but I guess you don't really see pigs."
Gilbert's routines consist of people feeding him treats, getting pets, doing tricks and knocking down a pile of cups that he is always excited for, Burns said.
However, the most requested activity is snapping a picture with Gilbert behind the kissing frame. Before anyone gets squeamish about puckering up with a pig, there's more they should know.
"Basically just you put a piece of romaine lettuce in your mouth and he'll come up to you and take it from your mouth," Burns said. "If you let them inch up it really looks like he gets you on the lips but technically, he really doesn't touch your mouth."
At the same time, Burns strives to make Gilbert's shows educational by debunking common misconceptions about pigs from the existence of teacup pigs to their unhygienic nature. Reviews for Gilbert's performances have been unanimously positive as his popularity soars throughout the region.
"Gilbert was a surprise for my daughter’s baby shower!! He did not disappoint," one Facebook reviewer said. "He entertained all the guests by getting his back scratched, going through his tube and getting KISSED."
"We loved having Gilbert at our graduation party! We learned a lot about piggies and everyone was involved," another reviewer said. "Highly recommend!"
People interested in booking Gilbert for their next event can get in touch with Burns through Gilbert's Facebook page. Based on reviews and Gilbert's unmatched enthusiasm, he will make his performance worth every penny.
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