Bacon Fest virgin no longer! Yesterday was Des Moines, Iowa's 7th Annual Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival. Yes that's right, a festival dedicated to "ohhhh bacon!" Tickets sold out in 42 minutes, all 12,000 of them. That is up from the nearly 10,000 last year. I was not really ever interested in going but a co-worker happened to be selling her tickets and I thought, what a great "date day" for the hubs and I. We have never been and it's in our own backyard! All of a sudden you start to feel like part of the "in" crowd because you are going to THE Bacon Fest.We didn't know what to expect so I looked it up on the website blueribbonbaconfestival.com. I had no clue what the website was talking about so we just went in completely blind, which can be good sometimes when you have no expectations. I mean, how can bacon fail you? Same brown, marbalized, long strip of flavor it has always been. Hard to change that! The recommendation we got was to go at 11:00 a.m. and leave by 3:00p.m., so we did. Maybe not the best time to arrive. We left our house at 10:45 after prepping my Mom & Dad on how to get the baby to take a bottle and me squeezing in a quick feeding to tie her over longer in hopes of not receiving any "get home" phone calls. We should've left our house at 12:00 as we did not get into the actual fest until then. That was traffic, parking, and the line to get in. Yes, I said line. I have never seen a line that long, even for the fair, and are you sure only 12,000 people went? Did everyone drive seperate? This genius, yes me, decided not to wear a coat for the fear the bacon smell would never come out of it. Not sure if that was the smartest decision on a day that was 18 degrees and a line that took over 30 minutes to get through. A drone was flying above the line we were waiting in and all I wanted was for it to drop something warm, perhaps a slice of bacon?
After waiting in line we were shuffled into the Elwell building where we were carded and tickets were scanned. Ahhh warmth. We are IN! Well, not yet. Grab your goody bag (5 food tickets, 2 drink tickets, t-shirt, lid loosener thing, pamplets, and a coozie of course,) buy more tickets, and then head back outside to either the Varied Industries building or the Jacobson building. The VI is closer so we are going there following a herd of bacon lovers. We entered by the craft beer station and by looking around, you better stop there first. One of my favorite local breweries was there serving up my favorite brew, PeaceTree's Blonde Fatale. Homerun. If you are ever in Knoxville, Iowa check them out!
Next up is food! Free slices of bacon tied us over while waiting in line for more bacon. No one should ever leave this place hungry! We stopped over to say hello to our Templeton Rye buddies ( if you like whisky, buy a bottle of this,) then we started with La Mie bakery. A bacon and cheddar croissant kicked off the party in my mouth! It was heavenly, but would've been more heavenly if they added eggs and served it warm!
The only thing I could not wait to try was the cro-nut ( croissant/donut) from Zombie Burger, so over to the Jacobson building we went. Another large dwelling packed with bacon lovers drinking and eating, oh and a wedding complete with a bacon bouquet. I can't make this stuff up people. I love donuts and right there at the entrance it was. Dipped in a chocolate bacon glaze, topped with crumbled bacon and chocolate sprinkles for fun. It was a good thought and needs some perfecting. All I could taste was the bacon grease it was fried in :( Sad day for me. But it did look pretty.
We ran into a few friends, shared a few laughs, and headed back over to the less crowded VI building, if that was even possible. I checked my phone to see if I had any messages from Mom, and nothing. Whew! Our last food tickets were burning a hole in our pocket so naturally we needed to eat again. My husband chose the Bacon Explosion from the guys at BBQ Addicts and I chose HyVee's bacon bread pudding after drooling over someone else eating it. This is seriously a tribute to each of our personalities. He picks the salty food and I go straight for the sugar! Both were delicious and worth the wait!
We officially felt like if we ate one more thing we would barf. After watching a butt quarter contest ( I can't even begin to explain,) and some great music from Rumble Seat Riot, a Rock/Rockabilly/Road House group, we decided to call it a successful day. Walking the mile back to the car felt great, as if we were working off some of the lard we just consumed. A quick text to Mom stating we were on our way home and a text back saying that the baby was sleeping. All is well.
All in all it was about the experience. Will I sit at my computer for next year trying to beat out thousands of people for tickets...probably not. There are a few kinks that need to be worked out and if it keeps expanding, why not just make it a summer event? Seriously, just make it a bacon fair. This is Iowa ya know :) And for all of you that read my blog post Breast & Bottle, my child did not eat for my parents, she kindly waited for me to get home. Diva. We will just keep working on it. Until then, I have a baby and will keep living! Ohhhh Bacon :)