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Baconfest sizzles into second year

Bacon lovers will have another chance to revel in all things pork belly as Dell’Osso Family Farms hosts the 2nd Annual Baconfest Sept. 9 -10.

The inaugural event held during Father’s Day weekend last year was a learning experience for the family farm. This time they are bringing the festival back with the same format, but with some improvements and new guests.

Get ready for two days filled with live music, beer, wine, bacon bloody Marys, demonstrations, contests, pig races, kid rides, craft and food vendors and, of course, the culinary delight of bacon offered in an assortment of tasty dishes.

“We learned a lot,” said Susan Dell’Osso of the inaugural festival. “It went very well for our first year. The entertainment was great, the music was great, the contest was really fantastic. (Celebrity chef) Guy (Fieri) worked out well. So, what our thought was, is that we wanted to shift it to later in the year because Father’s Day weekend would have been literally 113 degrees so we are shifting it into early September to hopefully have better weather and we are changing up the guests.”

TV personality Adam Richman known for hosting the Travel Channel’s “Man V. Food,” as well as several other shows on the Travel Channel, and NBC’s “Food Fighters,” and author of two books, “America the Edible” and “Straight Up Tasty,” will be hosting this year’s event.

“Adam Richman was a good find on our part,” said Dell’Osso. “We think he is really entertaining and he has been very friendly to us. So, we are looking forward to him interacting with the crowd a little bit more.”

“I am beyond excited and thank you to everybody that has sent me pictures of the billboard. I mean, I think when you have arguably one of the most popular flavorings and meats on the planet, just to see …how many ways it’s being interpreted I think that kind of makes me excited,” Richman said of the event and the opportunity to host.

Sunny Valley Smoked Meats will once again bring a semi-truck full of bacon to supply the event with all their pork belly needs such as the fan favorite, bacon bouquet — small plates where you can buy three different bacon dishes to try at a reasonable price.

“I can’t say enough about Sunny Valley because they have been such a great sponsor,” said Dell’Osso. “People just love bacon. We (Dell’Osso) are doing 15 different types of food.”

The layout of the festival has been changed a little bit giving Bacon Alley and the specialty gourmet foods more space. There will be a main stage with bands like Wonderbread and the Mike Torres Band, and a smaller stage with some local band favorites. There will be over 100 arts and craft vendors, along with a Nascar Raceway for some remote-control racing.

The professional and amateur cook-off contest will be held once again on the hi-tech mobile culinary kitchen where cooks are encouraged to create their signature bacon recipes. Celebrity judges will pick their favorite dish and Richman will emcee the event. Eight amateur contestants will compete on Sept. 9 and the winner will receive a cash prize of $3,000. There will be eight professional chefs selected to compete on Sept. 10 and the winner will receive a Grand Prize including a trophy, an experience at the French Laundry and an overnight stay.

The bacon-eating contest will be back with about 40 contestants in the amateur category. There will be a professional bacon-eating contest as well. The other contest is the “Sunny Summer Challenge” where people can print a picture of “Sunny” and take pictures with him at different places and submit them on to win free ticket prior to the event.

For the price of a ticket, the family-friendly event includes a train ride for the kids, the spinning pumpkins, the rollercoaster and the speedway. A fan-favorite, the popular pig races are returning with several races each day.

“If you like bacon you have to come,” exclaimed Dell’Osso. “If you want to come spend a day with the family, it is just a great way to spend the day. I think people should make this an annual tradition because it is just a lot of fun and there are a lot of things to see.”

Parking is free and entry is $25 for adults and youth between the ages of 6 and 14 are $12.50 and children under 6 are free.

Tickets are available online and will be available at the gate the day at the event. Tickets are limited due to space so if you’re interested in attending, event coordinators suggest purchasing early.

Gates will open at 9 a.m. and the last ticket can be purchased at 6 p.m. The event will close at 7:30 p.m. on both days.