Feb 16, 2014

Des Moines Bacon Festival

We munched on crunchy pig this year at the Des Moines Bacon Fest.  This annual celebration of crispy meat and cold beer is in high demand.  Attendance increases by several thousand each year, this round of 12,000 tickets sold out in 42 minutes.

If you know nothing about Iowa and assume all residents are farmers, live in the sticks, have high BMI and survive mainly on bacon, you'd be correct.  Partially.

The IA State Fairgrounds were turned into a winter lard-land for this annual oily feast.

A greasy sizzle for the ears and savory smoke smells for the nose.  Hungry eaters were served bacon laced ice-cream, Thai peanut sauce bacon pizza, bacon béchamel mac&cheese, tater tots wrapped in a bacon blanket and 50,000 strips of plain ole fried B.

Curls and I volunteered to help and were on beer can recycling duty for four hours.  Suited up with lunch lady gloves and jumbo plastic sacks, we roamed the party hauling out spent loads of Budweiser and High Life.  She wouldn't touch the raunchy cans, so I did the deed.  My sacks kept springing a leak, causing a 200 foot drizzle of booze to follow me.

Curls crossed paths with people she knows from work.  They were doing 12 oz lifts and folding bendy pork sticks down their face.  She muttered, "what if they think I'm working here, getting paid to haul trash?  It's embarrassing."  I said, "Yep, DBA by day, janitor on nights and weekends."

This year's theme was Viva Las Bacon.  Guess that explains the pod of Elvises (Elvi?) in white skin suits and PB&banana w/bacon on the menu.

Roller derby girls wheeled around salty snacks.

A Bacon Queen was crowned.

Two couples were married amongst the pork chaos.  A skinny 115 lb. mom dominated the bacon eating contest against a bunch of fat guys, and a random lady in regular street clothes sported a pair of external underpants.

Bald guy with sunglasses wearing a foam bacon suit and sweating heavily.  I'll go on a limb and say he didn't get his costume rental deposit back.  There was a lot of sweat and foam absorbs.

White boy on stage in bib overalls trying to rap.

We accidentally stumbled upon a techno oonzing champagne room in the back 40 of the equestrian barn.

A limber lady climbed a 40 foot ribbon to the ceiling, wrapped it around and unrolled to the floor.  I downed another light-and-snacky 6-pack of back strips and reloaded a sack of dribbly beer cans.

That's about it.
Bacon and beer.  
Welcome to Iowa.

Tell me what you have going on in your parts for funky festivals.



  1. Lindsey2/17/2014

    Tell curls not to be too embarrassed. Lots of people get paid to haul trash and are very proud of the job they have and the service they provide. My uncle was a janitor at our small town school for 43 years and also very well respected in the community. The students and faculty loved him. They had a huge party for him when he retired and presented him with a fishing boat as a gift. I know he was never once embarrassed at "getting paid to haul trash".

  2. We've got the grape festival, the 10 ugly men festival, the lilac festival, the corn hill festival, the winter festival. rochester, ny - the land of the festivals. We sure like to party.

  3. Well, there's a lot to choose from in our area and we are still making our way around all the festive fun available. Why is it you can live in a place and never make it to all the local events? We're working on changing it, though:

    The Great Texas Mosquito Festival in Clute, Texas -- http://www.mosquitofestival.com
    The Brazoria No-Name Festival -- http://tinyurl.com/krgtfje
    The Alvin Crawfish Festival -- http://tinyurl.com/mq2psmf (We go to this every year!)
    Jones Creek Pie Day -- http://tinyurl.com/kz7kt4a (These are photos that I take each year at our local pie day contest -- people drop pies off to be judged early in the morning, and in the afternoon everyone comes out for pie and coffee, at no charge. Lots of good pie, good conversation -- so much fun!)

  4. In south central VA where I live there are various outdoor festivals pretty much every Wednesday afternoon spring thru summer. Usual featured items are pork, beef, chicken or shrimp. The biggest one is the Virginia Pork Festival in June. We used to help out a friend's Ruritan club which was one of the four booths serving chitlins (chitterlings) -- the club members were all a lot older than us and were grateful to have some help working the deep fryers in the usual 95 degree heat. Other than the Pork Festival it's been many years since we attended any of these events, so don't know if it's still the case, but a lot of the appeal, for many, of the real "country" ones were the ridiculously strong drinks they poured.

    Virginia is well-known for pork; however, I've never seen any pigs in this state that came close to a monster porker I saw in Iowa many years, so I bow down to your state!

  5. In SW Colorado, we have festivals every weekend from Memorial Day to late Sept. including, but not limited to, Bluegrass (10K happy freaks in your backyard for a weekend), Wine Fest, Mushroom Fest, the Nothing Fest (where naked bikers finish off the weekend with a ride down main st.) and finishing it up with Blues and Brews (another 10K fun drinkers in your backyard for a weekend). All this in a town of 2000. Good times.


Thanks for the note, check back for my response!