Bring on the bacon

Annual festival celebrates the pig in all its edible forms

By Kaitlyn Calogero ‘18 and Jay Bickford ‘17

Collaborative Writers

This Saturday and Sunday, Easton will be the host of a bacon bonanza

The Pennsylvania Bacon Fest, a celebration of all things bacon, is currently in its fourth year. In 2012, the inaugural PA Bacon Fest drew a crowd of 9,000. In 2013, it drew a crowd of 17,000, with more than 60 vendors present.

Last year the two-day festival attracted 50,000 attendees who gobbled through over 30,000 pounds of bacon, according to The Express Times.Itisratedasoneofthe300bestfestivalsintheworldby fest300.com, and was named the “Best Culinary Event” by Lehigh Valley Style magazine.

On top of all of that, the festival and most of its activities are completely free and open to the public.

“[The festival’s] primary goal is to continue to share the love of bacon with the thousands of people that attend,” said Gary Kline, the Bacon Fest festival coordinator. He went on to tout the astronomically successful figures behind the festival, with over 120 vendors, culinary demos and contests, more than 20 musical acts, as well as plenty of kid-friendly activities,the PA Bacon Fest is looking to be the largest in its brief history.

There is even an event called “The State of the Bacon,” a craft beer, wine and bacon tasting event with live music in the State Theater from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday

“There is something for everyone,” Kline said.

The festival’s official website claims that visitors come from all over the country, from “as far north as New England states, as far south as Virginia, and as far west as Michigan,” though the primary audience is Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.

The festival is run in conjunction with the Easton Farmer’s Market, the oldest continuously operating open-air market in the country. The farmer’s market’s mission of sustainability ties in with the objective of PA Bacon Fest.

“The goal of Bacon Fest is to promote local, sustainable farms, farm-to-table food, restaurants and purveyors,” the fest’s website said.“Top consideration is typically given to vendors who source local farms, or use pasture-raised bacon local or at least independent farms.”

Recently, however, a report from the World Health Organization has brought to light a correlation between consumption of processed meats and cases of colorectal cancer, which may discourage some people from coming out to enjoy the massive amounts of meat on display this weekend. Kline does not believe that it poses a significant health issue, but does urge some caution.

“I do not know what to expect based on the WHO report,” Kline said. “We try to stay true to our Farm to Table principles rather than promote processed meats but there are still concerns regarding the health implications with eating bacon.”

“Like with most items that aren’t necessarily the healthiest food items, treat it in moderation,” he added.

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