11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5 | Festival Park, 2911 E. Robinson St. | festivalofbacon.com | $35
Bacon festivals have swept across the nation like cholesterol through a fat man’s arteries, and now, Orlando’s got its very own. The Festival of Bacon, taking place Saturday at Festival Park, will feed more than 2,000 porcine-depraved rasher eaters some 30,000 samples of bacon prepared by more than 30 local restaurants and vendors, according to event organizers Danny Bivins and Kyle Morse.
Beth’s Burger Bar was the first restaurant to sign on for the event and since then, many more (including Citrus, Sonoma Draught House, Red Eye Bar and Grill, Taps, the Hammered Lamb and Anthony’s Pizzeria, to name just a few) have joined the porkfest. Even Winter Park’s Meat House butcher shop will get in on the action.
But it’s not all about rashers – Maitland’s Sugar Suite Bakery will unveil bacon cupcakes, Bacon Jams will showcase spreadable bacon, Kernel Encore will debut bacon-flavored popcorn and a “Bootleggers Row” will feature bacon-infused liquor samples. (Side note: I’m still baffled as to why Lay’s doesn’t make their Smoky Bacon flavored chips available in the U.S., like they do in Canada. C’mon, Lay’s! Grab this opportunity!)
Given that this is a sanctioned qualifying event for the World Food Championships, the winners of the “Best Bacon Overall” and “Best Restaurant Style Bacon” titles automatically get a berth in Las Vegas for the title of World Bacon Champion, which comes with a $25,000 grand prize. Contestants will also compete in three other categories – Best Dessert Style Bacon, Best Bacon Cocktail and, naturally, Best Backyard Bacon Ninja. For those who found the fashion sense of Lady Gaga circa 2010 appealing, bacon-inspired jewelry will find its way to the FOB as well.
The $35 ticket (available at festivalofbacon.eventbrite.com) includes $10 in bacon bucks, the official currency of the festival. There will be plenty of free samples, but the premium bacon served up by participating restaurants will range in price from $2-$5. You may even catch a glimpse of live musicians (Ben Prestage, Kaleigh Baker, Vagabond Swing, DJ Brian H, Good Luck Penny), assuming the sensory-clouding bacon haze clears by evening. Lard on!
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