Preview: The 2nd Annual Big Bite Bacon Fest Long Beach

Posted: July 28, 2015 in Bacon, Beer, Dessert, Events, Food, Long Beach
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The Big Bite Bacon Fest returns for its second year running at the Queen Mary in Long Beach this upcoming weekend. Pulling together some of Southern California’s bacon-centric businesses plus microbreweries, this fest brings on all forms of pork to serve to all willing attendees. Admission varies based on when you enter and if you will include the beer package, ranging from $40 to $70. Parking costs $10, so bring cash for that. Admission includes unlimited food tastings until the food runs out (which it will), while guests that purchase a beer package with admission can receive some beer tasters.

Those who have never attended ANY bacon festival in Southern California should do ample research before jumping the gun and buying tickets. In my experiences, every bacon festival in Southern California has had major issues that prevented people from thoroughly enjoying it. For example, all these reviews from last year’s Bacon Fest do not lie – it really did not live up to expectations. First off, when you look at the price compared to other food fests, most people clearly did not receive $40’s worth of food. When you factor in the long lines and the vendors running out of food, most attendees received only about $20’s worth of food. Children do not appreciate certain foods as much as adults, so bringing children to a bacon fest that has beer in it too wastes the admission’s value. Speaking of food, those who did not attend did not miss anything special that they could find regularly on the restaurant’s menu. A majority of the vendors did not cook the food enough, such as:

  • A potato, egg, cheese, and bacon mix had rubbery bacon in it
  • The bacon waffles tasted like dough and wet batter
  • Slater’s 50/50 did not cook their burgers consistently – they ranged from rare all the way to well done
  • The BBQ chicken came out pink and slimy, a sign of not getting cooked long enough
  • Red in the center of a bacon-wrapped meatball

Other problems include not keeping the food warm, meager sample portions, no seconds allowed, beer volunteers that did not know about the beers they poured, inefficient lines, and significantly less booths than the website advertised. How does a vendor serve cold food an hour after the fest starts? With such long lines, why do attendees receive only one small sample? For an event that does not limit the ticket sales, vendors should prepare more than enough food to meet the demands. This could potentially alleviate long lines, and increase marketing exposure to those who did not yet earn a chance to try the food.

Since last year, the organizers have claimed that they will improve the way they run the event. What can one expect this time? Read up for some tips on how to make your festival experience enjoyable:

  • Prepare yourself for the weather. This festival takes place mostly outdoors with limited shade. Apply ample sunscreen (security will not confiscate sunscreen upon entry), and dress for hot weather.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast. This sounds counterproductive, but the fact remains that you will only receive SAMPLES at this event, not full meals. Also all that bacon cannot do well for your body, so make sure you get your proper daily nutrients before splurging.
  • The VIP hour makes or breaks the day. Overall the VIP hour makes for an enjoyable experience. However, once the floodgates open to general admission, expect all to go to the pits.
  • Stay hydrated. Salty foods like bacon quickly dehydrate your body. Beer also quickly dehydrates your body. Drink plenty of water before you arrive here, and stay hydrated throughout the festival.
  • Fully charge your phone before arriving. Do not expect to find any outlets to charge your phone during the festival.
  • Bring cash. The Queen Mary charges a fortune to park there, and some vendors at the festival may only accept cash. Consider taking the FREE bus from Downtown Long Beach to save on parking fees.
  • Arrive early. All vendors WILL run out of food within an hour or two. Late arrivals will miss out on the best food samples.
  • Have patience. Expect LONG lines at every booth, and expect to wait a while to receive your bacon sample. Knowing the Queen Mary’s track record, they will not cap tickets either, so do not expect the event to sell out. For best results, split your party up to multiple lines, and have each person bring a handful of food samples back so you can all share the bacon goodness.

Still planning to attend this bacon festival? Take a look at these bacon eats from previous festivals:

  1. dodgerdrei says:

    After reading your post and all the reviews on Yelp from last years event, I’m starting too think there’s a reason why Kettle One L.A. gave me some comps for this Sunday. Hopefully this year’s event will run more smoothly.

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