Sizzling, crispy bacon, cold refreshing beer and a variety of entertainment is what visitors will find at Dell’Osso Family Farm on Father’s Day weekend for the very first Baconfest. The two-day festival will be filled with activities from a cooking and eating contest, live music, and demonstrations, to free attractions at Kiddieland for the youngsters and over 100 vendors. Celebrity guest Guy Fieri will be appearing at the festival both days to emcee the cooking contest that will be held on a state-of-the-art T.R.U.C.K. (Traveling Restaurant Ultimate Competition Kitchen).
The idea had been brewing for several years between Ron and Susan Dell’Osso to hold some type of festival on the property and last year they came up with the concept to have a festival surrounding bacon. The wheels were put into motion and the festival is becoming a reality for the Dell’Osso Family Farm at 501 Manthey Road in Lathrop.
Sunnyvalley Smoked Meats will be providing all the bacon for the festival and along with sponsorship by Sysco Foods, this event has come to fruition.
“(Bill Andreetta of Sunnyvalley) produces the most bacon literally sold on the West Coast,” said Susan. “We thought it would be a great start with a bacon festival because everyone loves bacon.”
To set the stage for the festival Susan explained that they constructed two lakes along with eight acres of grass to mark the grounds of the festival.
“So basically we started about a year ago and now it is imminent,” said Susan. “We needed to go big. That is where the idea to hire Guy Fieri came around because our thought was we can’t just do a little festival with some vendors. We really need to make a splash.”
With Fieri's big personality, a reputation of being a foodie, and the host of "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" also known as the Triple D – among several other cooking shows – he was the right fit for the festival. Fieri can now include Baconfest on his résumé as the Triple B: Bacon, Bands, and Beer.
“He just seemed so iconic with bacon,” added Susan. “We have seen him do a lot of shows that have focused on eating bacon and kind of just doing crazy stuff, and he is personable, and he is a great emcee and he just seemed to be the right person to have come to this.”
The cooking contest will consist of an amateur contest on Saturday and the professionals on Sunday. The panel of judges will choose four people to move on to the challenge on stage with Fieri where they will have a mystery basket type competition with several ingredients they will have to use to create an appetizer, entrée or dessert. The last two people standing will return later that day for a final challenge.
The amateur competitor will win a cash prize and the professional will win a trip to Napa and dinner at French Laundry.
“Sysco Foods is helping us with the format of the contest and has just been really instrumental,” stated Susan. “They are doing the back pantry, monitoring the stage and they are going to have their chefs on hand.
“We have been working with their chefs cooking things for our own bacon dishes.”
Sysco Foods will also be holding demonstrations throughout the day with local chefs showing guests how to cook a variety of items.
They will have a bacon eating contest with each contestant competing to see who can chow down 12 pounds of bacon in five minutes. The MLE (Major League Eating) organization will oversee the eating contest.
There will be a variety of live music on two stages that will include local bands like Trick Pony, Gunpowder & Lace, Confunkshun, and the Mike Torres Band, to name a few.
The T.R.U.C.K. will make its way to the festival bringing a full gourmet kitchen to the grounds. It has two custom competition kitchens, four cooking surfaces, refrigerators, 55-inch screens and 8 keg spouts for beer.
“The thing is just amazing. It is quite remarkable,” Susan admitted.
The country store will be turned into a wine pavilion featuring Somerston Vineyards, also known as Priest Ranch Vineyards from Napa.
On Bacon Alley, visitors can get find small plates of bacon featured dishes.
“So Bacon Alley the intent being that all of these dishes are really baconcentric and they are small plates so you won’t get full on them. You can try four or five of the unique type dishes like maple bacon ice cream,” said Susan.
Their signature dish is the deep fried bacon on a stick where they take a thick piece of bacon on a skewer, dip it in a batter and spray it with maple syrup.
“It is shockingly good,” exclaimed Susan. “It really is delicious.”
The Kiddieland attractions like the train and spinning pumpkin will be included in the entry fee of $25 for adults (ages 15 and up), $12.50 for children (6-14), and kids 5 and under are free. The fun begins at 9 a.m. June 18 and runs until 8 p.m. On June 19, the festival runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.IF YOU'RE GOINGWHAT:
9 a.m. to 8 p.m. June 18 and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 19WHERE:
Dell’Osso Family Farm, 501 Manthey Road in LathropTICKETS:
$25 for adults (ages 15 and up), $12.50 for children (6-14), and kids 5 and under are freeINFO:baconfest.com