People have an unexplainable lust for bacon. Some small quirk about a thin strip of salted meat drives people so crazy that some may even prefer it over SEX. People simply love bacon for unexplainable reasons, and will go to crazy distances just for that crispy salty crunchy satisfying feel of biting into bacon. You know bacon has something going for it when people wrap things in bacon to make it taste better, even things most people may not have heard of, such as water chestnuts or peppadews. When you cannot wrap something in bacon, what logically comes next other that chop up the bacon and throw it all onto food? In some instances, you can then directly add the bacon into whatever you make. Like bacon and waffles? Add bacon pieces to the batter prior to grilling. Like bacon and pasta? Roll your own bacon & cheese tortelloni. As one of the most versatile foods in the world, bacon adds that je ne sais quoi to anything one can eat or drink, and can replace most basic ingredients in foods. To see bacon doing all this in action, look no further than at the Big Bite Bacon Fest.
The Big Bite Bacon Fest returned for its second year running at the Queen Mary in Long Beach this past weekend. Pulling together some of Southern California’s bacon-centric businesses plus microbreweries, this all-ages event brought on all forms of pork to serve to all willing attendees. Dozens of food vendors ensured they had plenty of bacon goodies for all attendees to pig out on, while dozens of microbreweries delivered refreshing brews to cool off with. To keep attendees occupied between sessions of pigging out, the event organizers put out some games in the center field plus a stage for live music. In addition, all attendees could board the Queen Mary for a self-guided tour of the majestic ship. Big Bite Events held three separate sessions in order to spread out the amount of attendees to alleviate issues of long lines and vendors running out of food.
Anyone who did research on this event may discover an angry mob of reviews of this organization’s historical events. At least for the past three years’ worth of bacon festivals, too many things went wrong that no one thought that Big Bite Events could rectify their flagship event. Without going into too much detail, major issues involved the steep admission price, parking fees, long lines, low food quality, lack of food, food not fully cooked or heated, meager sample portions, too few vendors, lack of accessible water, and no crowd control. All of these factors over the past few years contributed to bad press for this bacon festival. During the past year, they swore to rectify all of their problems to deliver a bacon festival truly worth praise. If you ask me… I believe they have succeeded in coming back from the grave.
Something must have happened at the Big Bite Events camp during the past year, as they made a hard about-face for this year’s Big Bite Bacon Fest. They basically resolved most of this event’s past problems and ensured that those problems would not resurface again during the weekend. It did appear that they limited attendance, as no vendor never had a long line, and no one had any trouble navigating through the event space. While some vendors arrived late, no vendor ran out of food until the last hour. They also added much more food vendors this time, with added food variety and enough food to spread out all the attendees so that no booth required a long wait, with the sole exception of Slater’s 50/50, which did not surprise anyone. Issues that lingered included high parking fees (uncontrollable, since the Queen Mary handles this) and lack of accessible water – if people will eat salty food and drink beer, they will suffer dehydration fast under this hot sun. As long as attendees prepared for this by properly hydrating prior to arriving and applying ample sunscreen, they could manage to live through to the end of the festival.
While the Big Bite Bacon Fest suffered from bad press in the past few years, I believe this year’s festival may help to bring them back into good standing. We all hope that they learned from their past mistakes and use this this year’s festival’s overall success to deliver quality events in the future. If you seek out more bacon goodness, save a spot on your calendar for Saturday, September 5, as the San Diego Bacon Fest occurs on that day. The organizers for this festival have nothing to do with Big Bite Events, but they too also did poorly at their events the past few years for basically the same reasons of the Big Bite Bacon Fest. I cannot say if I crave bacon this much ever again, but if you do, plenty of opportunities will surface in the near future.