TRENTON — The battle of the competing Trenton pork roll festivals just took a salty turn.
Trenton has not one, but two pork roll festivals scheduled for separate locations in the city on May 23. When the organizers of last year’s wildly-popular inaugural Pork Roll Festival couldn’t agree on logistics, they parted ways under seemingly amicable circumstances to run their own events.
Until this week. A lawyer sent a “cease-and-desist” letter. Name calling on social media ensued. The food feud was on.
The dispute pits Scott Miller, proprietor of the “Official 2nd Annual Pork Roll Festival” to be held at Mill Hill Park versus TC Nelson, the man behind “Trenton Pork Roll Festival 2015” at the restaurant he owns, Trenton Social.
Miller’s attorney sent Nelson the cease and desist letter, touching off the animosity.
“He wants to be the Czar of Pork Roll in this town dictating who, when, where, and how a Trenton product can be sold, marketed, and celebrated, and he is a fool,” Nelson wrote on his personal Facebook account with a posting the legal letter. “Before it was a friendly competition, now it is not.”
Miller, reached Thursday, deferred comment to his lawyer, George Benaur, who emailed a brief statement.
“As stated in our letter, Pork Roll Productions LLC remains open to discussing options for resolution, so long as they are constructive and made in good faith,’ the statement said.
Nelson called Miller a “chump” in his Facebook response to the letter.
Just a year ago, Nelson and Miller worked together on the inaugural festival, which drew 4,000 people to the city. The event was so popular that lines ran long and pork roll ran short until they got an emergency delivery.
The pork roll festival was Miller’s idea, but held at Nelson’s restaurant. Talks for the logistics of the second festival broke down in March, when both announced competing festivals on the same day about a half-mile apart.
Nelson and Miller were cordial at the time, wishing each other luck in their efforts.
Now, Miller wants Nelson to stop using “2nd Annual Trenton Pork Roll Festival” on his website and to halt any sales, promotion and marketing using the phrase, which Miller believes is his the intellectual property of his company, Pork Roll Productions, LLC.
Nelson, who received the letter Thursday morning at his business, went to Facebookand vented.
The Trenton City Council had asked the city’s Department of Housing and Economic Development to try and broker some peace among the pork parties at a meeting on Monday.
Nelson said later Thursday he was shocked to see Miller had brought a lawyer to the meeting.
“It was supposed to be about the pork roll festival and it ended up being adversarial,” Nelson said. “I felt a little unarmed.”
Nelson said he owns his “digital real estate” and Miller owns his, and he believes Miller wants to rule the Trenton pork roll world.
“Since he’s trying to take a day away from me that I helped build, I’m going to take away his year…I will not rest now,” Nelson wrote on Facebook.
The cease-and-desist letter had requested a response from Nelson by May 11.
“So far the only response has been by way of unsubstantiated accusations on social media postings,” Benaur said.
Nelson said he already has his response: ” I have no plans on stopping anything that I plan to do. It was a worthless letter that was sent.”
By the way, there’s actually three “pork roll festivals” scheduled for May 23. But one will be held without Trenton’s famous cured meat. The Trenton Vegan Pork Roll Festival will be held simultaneously in the Ghandi Garden on East Hanover Street.