Proving Des Moines is NOT boring

Mmmmmmm…Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival

If you are reading this and you aren’t one of the lucky 1,300 bacon lovers who secured tickets to the 4th annual Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival, scheduled February 26th in Des Moines’ Capital Square, don’t feel too bad.  I was slow to the punch too and didn’t nab tickets.  I honestly never fathomed that 1,300 tickets could sell in 30 minutes!  And although I am a little bummed, I am also really excited for Des Moines and the festival organizers.  This fast-selling phenomenon proves that Des Moines residents love quirky, unusual events and when they are enthusiastic about something, they really show up.

There’s all sorts of good news for the Bacon Festival this year.  Not only did the festival themed, “Fields of Bacon…If You Fry It, They Will Come,” get a national sponsor with Purina Beggin’ Strips but they also more than doubled their attendee capacity and still sold all of their tickets in record time.  Not bad for a single food item-themed festival that three years ago was a small shindig hosted at High Life Lounge and El Bait Shop.

Now don’t think I am forgetting the obvious reason the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival is such a hit.  Let’s face it, Iowans love good food and homegrown pork is one of our specialties.  I have no doubt the festival’s Bacon Showcase will provide some of the best bacon and bacon-themed food attendees will ever have the pleasure of enjoying.

I had the delight of visiting the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival booth at last year’s Winefest, and I am not ashamed to admit, I came back for a second round of treats.  They were giving away samples of freshly fried Eden Farms bacon along with mini caramel and bacon flavored cupcakes from Carefree Patisserie.  The bacon cupcake might sound weird but it didn’t taste weird. It tasted like the perfect combination of sweet and salty goodness.  And the chunk of Eden Farms bacon was the best I have ever had.  As a side note, the guys at the booth recognized my sister and I on our second trip back, to our chagrin, but didn’t care a bit.  They shared their bacon love freely.

According to festival organizers, last year’s event saw attendees consume 1,200 pounds of bacon.  But there’s more to the event than just eating tasty bacon treats.  Attendees will enjoy live music and even bacon-themed educational lectures while they sample the cured meat.  The event also features a bacon eating contest where a reigning champ will take on new challengers who are drooling for his champion title.  But let’s not fan the flames of jealousy worrying about what we are missing.

For people like me who didn’t get tickets, a “Bacon Week” will be celebrated in the days leading up to the festival.  More details will trickle out soon but for now, we know that delicious bacon will be fried to perfection and distributed at several locations for sampling. Bacon competitions at these locations will award their winners with coveted tickets to the big festival.

All this bacon talk has me hungry and this event’s success proves Des Moines is hungry for more unique and cool events like the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival.  Let’s put on our thinking caps and start brainstorming what the next bacon festival could be for Des Moines…

To keep up on all that is the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival, log here.

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