The SLO Bacon Fest included alcohol, appetizers and entrees featuring one main ingredient: bacon.
Local vendors from restaurants, breweries, wineries and sweet shops donated bacon-inspired samples to raise money for Ward House Charities to start an after-school program to feed hungry children in San Luis Obispo County.
Attendees wandered through the Expo Center with food piling high on tiny brown plates. Some even showed their devotion to bacon with their outfit choices. One man wore a T-shirt with Ron Swanson’s face, a “Parks and Recreation” TV character that loves bacon and breakfast food. Another had bacon pajama pants emblazoned with the words, “Bacon is my life.” Even more attendees sported bacon-related shirts, one with the infinity sign made of bacon.
The number of bacon-related food seemed infinite as well. Local vendors brought some of their most popular bacon menu items. For example, Woodstock’s Pizza served up barbecue bacon pizza. SLODOCO brought another crowd pleaser: the maple bacon donut.
But restaurants were not limited to what was on their regular menu, they could be creative. Chino’s Rock and Tacos brought the heat with bacon-wrapped jalapeños and Creekside Brewing Company served a bacon stout brownie.
And of course, there were breakfast favorites supplied by Old West Cinnamon Rolls and House of Bagels. They contributed bacon cinnamon rolls and breakfast bagels with eggs and bacon, respectively.
Even the most fanciful combinations came true, with Old San Luis BBQ Co. serving not only a tri-tip sandwich with candied bacon, but also a chocolate shake complete with bacon bits that were small enough to be sucked up the straw. And if all of the pairings of local wine and beer weren’t enough to satisfy your bacon cravings, Bakon Vodka was served by the self-titled company based in Seattle.
Paso Robles resident Taryn Pollack came to the event with friends to sample all of the unique bacon pairings.
“We love bacon, beer and wine, and we are always looking for new events in the area,” Pollack said.
Despite the crowds moving up and down the four main aisle ways, Pollack and friends were able to make their way to a table to enjoy their samples.
“It is a little bit crowded, but I think the vendors are doing a good job at getting people through,” Pollack said. “There are some open spaces that you can hang out and get away from the crowd, which is nice.”
Pollack’s friend and Ventura resident Megan Hellerstein liked the more traditional samples.
“My favorite sample was the G. Brother’s sandwich,” Hellerstein said. “It was super flavorful.”
Animal science junior Samantha Smith, decked out in a pink tutu and pig snout, had been looking forward to the Bacon Fest for months.
“I have been following the event on Facebook since May or June and telling all of my friends about it, and that was before they even released the date,” Smith said.
She came to enjoy all of the bacon samples and prove her devotion to bacon through the Bacon Queen Pageant.
“I am actually a meat science concentration and have had an internship in the meat industry,” she said. “It sounds nerdy to say, but it has always been a big part of my life.”