If there is one meat that Iowans will battle traffic and a snowy walk for year after year, it’s bacon.
From 175 people at the High Life Lounge to 14,000 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival has evolved into one of central Iowa’s most popular events and hottest tickets.
“This is my first year going. I’ve tried three years in a row and finally got tickets this year,” said Sean McLemore.
While bacon seems to cast the spell of attraction over hungry Iowans, organizers say the key to drawing big crowds is giving people something new to look forward to each year.
“Each year it’s something totally different and unique,” said Brooks Reynolds, Co-founder of the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival.
Unique may be an understatement.
From a Vegas theme to the first ever bacon wedding, bacon lovers had more to do than just pig out.
“They exchanged bacon as their kiss. It was interesting,” Reynolds said.
As far as future plans for the festival, organizers will head back to the drawing board Monday morning.
A bigger venue or an extra day is something to consider. There’s no question that organizers want more people to experience the bacon fellowship.
“We’d love to open this event up to 20-, 30- or 40-thousand people,” said Reynolds.
Bacon Fest is also becoming a top fundraiser in central Iowa. Organizers expected to raise about $50,000 for children’s charities this year.
About 200 tickets were also donated to local non-profits.