“We create a safe environment where people can express their love for bacon.”
-The Iowa Bacon Board


The Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival in Des Moines, Iowa celebrated its 6th year of bacon fellowship on February 9, 2013. This has become the premiere bacon festival in the United States and therefore, the world, ‘cuz no one does bacon like Americans do. ‘MERICA!


The Iowa Bacon Board’s annual event brings people together to celebrate their common love of bacon. When I first attended in 2009, the crowd topped out at 300 and the venue was the High Life Lounge, a small dive bar on the outer edges of the downtown business district. But Americans – and Iowans in particular – love their bacon, and when word gets around that bacon eatin’ is going on, demand quickly exceeds supply.


The 2013 Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival sold out 8,000 tickets in only 3 minutes and took over 2 buildings at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. 5 tons of bacon were served. 30+ vendors presented dishes ranging from Bacon Pad Thai to Bacon Gelato. Alcohol flowed freely for 6 hours straight (and continued at multiple after-parties that went well into the early morning hours).


This year’s Bacon Fest also had an international flair. Partnering with a delegation of Icelandic bacon lovers, the event’s theme was “a journey to the land of fire..and ice…and bacon.” One of the buildings was devoted to all things Iceland including baked cod wrapped in bacon, smoked char and bacon chowder, and fermented shark with a schnapps shooter. There actually wasn’t any bacon involved in that third item which was apparently just some sort of initiation/bonding ceremony. All I know is that it seemed like the festival’s fun factor increased post-shark/schnapps.


So you missed the 2013 Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival but are dying to go in 2014? Then you better be ready to log on at the exact time tickets go on sale and have your credit card information at your fingertips so you don’t miss out. You have 11 months to put together a strategy to make it happen!


You can view more photos from the event by clicking here.


Following is a list of all the dishes that were served at the 2013 Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival. The number of dessert items was particularly impressive and a sign of how much our bacon palates have evolved in the past few years. I’m already looking forward to the 2014 festival and hope to see more of my fellow bacon lovers in Des Moines!


Bacon Balls
Bacon and Cheddar Croissant
Bacon and Cheese Rangoon
Bacon Flavored Potato Chips
Bacon Jalapeno Grillers
Bacon, Onion, Garlic and Cheese Bread
Bacon Pops
Bacon Rumaki
Bacon Sausage on a Stick
Bacon Slaw
Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno
Candied Bacon
Candied Bacon and Beer Combo
Caribbean Jerk Pork Fatty
Cheese Dip with Bacon
Maytag Blue Cheese Soft Pretzels with a Bacon Beer Cheese Dip
Rainbow Rub Bacon Strips


Bacon, Blue Cheese and Beef Sandwich
Bacon Empanada
Bacon Sliders
Bacon Taco Explosion
Bacon Wrapped Hot Dog
Carolina Style Bacon n’ BBQ Sandwich
Double Bacon Wrapped Corndog
Mini BLTs
The Original Bacon Explosion Sandwich
Pineapple and Bacon Quesadilla
Pulled Pork and Bacon BBQ Slider
Templeton Rye Whiskey Elk and Bacon Slider with Bacon Potato Bun
Three Little Pigs


Bacon Breakfast Pizza
The Elvis Pizza
The 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon Pizza


Asian Braised Pork Rice Bowl
Bacon Gumbo
Bacon Macaroni and Cheese
Bacon Pad Thai
Bacon Potato Soup
Chili with Chocolate Dipped Bacon Spoon
Creamy Potato Bacon Soup
Smoked Icelandic Char and Bacon Chowder


Apple Bacon Curry Filled Pastry
Bacon Apple Bread Pudding with Bourbon Caramel
Bacon Booty Cookie
Bacon Brownies
Bacon Brownie Sundae
Bacon Flan Topped with Candied Bacon Strips
Bacon Vodka Pudding Shot
Bourbon Maple Bacon Ice Cream in Waffle Cone
Caramel Bacon Bar
Carmel Bacon Gelato
Carmel Bacon Ice Cream
Chocolate Bacon Bourbon Tart
Fireball Bacon Apple Tart with Ice Hole Raspberry Sauce
Lava Templeton Cupcake
Man Candy
Maple Bacon Cupcake
Peanut Butter, Bacon and Banana Panna Cotta
Pig Candy Cheesecake
Sweet Heat Candied Bacon Cookie