If you were planning on visiting the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival in Des Moines, Iowa at the end of the next month, I hope you got your tickets on January 21st. Because if you didn’t, you are out of luck. When the tickets went on sale, they sold out in four minutes. Yeah, that’s right 1,500 tickets were sold to salivating bacon fanatics at a speed normally seen for Justin Bieber ticket sales. Iowa may not sound like the greatest place in the world, but for bacon-lovers, the end of February is the place to be. Here’s why the Festival is so great.

bacon festival

First Reason: Free Bacon!

First of all, all ticket-holders get a wackload of free stuff: they get a koozie (a foam insulator for a beer can), a commemorative t-shirt, a free drink ticket – and best of all – as many free bacon samples as they could want. The bacon samples come from many different companies, and showcase many different cuts and flavours. Last year, participants took advantage of this generosity and ate over 1,000 pounds of bacon. That’s HALF A TON of bacon. Yowza!

The event also includes live music and bacon educational seminars. Manni Balignasay, the bacon-eating contest champ for three years in a row, will attempt to defend his championship. There’s also a mysterious and alluring Bacon Elegance Dinner. And, oh yeah, it’s no biggie, but you get to hang out with a bunch of bacon lovers. Sounds like heaven!

Wait – this isn’t even the end of the bacon greatness. If you can’t make it to the festival, you can enjoy the spillover in Bacon Week. There are no full details on exactly what happens there, but apparently about 200 pounds of bacon will be given out that week, as well. It’s no half-ton of bacon, but it’ll do.

Bacon Fanaticism Is Expanding Rapidly

The festival started simply enough: a few guys started getting together every year to enjoy their favourite meat. This eventually morphed, with the help of the Iowa Bacon Board, into the bacon festival in 2008. Since then, the festival has expanded by a factor of ten. Unfortunately, even as they expand, they still can’t meet demand. As the organizers say, “we’re committed to growing the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival into the future. At the same time, we’re determined to maintain an environment where bacon enthusiasts can truly explore and express their love for bacon in a fun, loving and supportive atmosphere. To accomplish this, we must grow the event at a manageable pace.” Once again – I may be a broken record on this topic – but why aren’t we Canadians doing stuff like this? I need free bacon! And I’m sure you need free bacon.

There Is Hope!

For those who are kicking themselves for not buying tickets, there does remain some hope. Fans of their Facebook page and followers of their Twitter account will get a chance to win 10-20 tickets for the festival. Full details are available on their site. And although we can’t go to the festival, we’ll try to get as many details about the event after it happens.

Would you be interested in bacon festival? What are the limits to your bacon fandom?