by David A. Bowers
The Second Annual Bacon Fest returns to Tucson on Saturday, June 7, 2014 with new title sponsor Hormel and Black Label® Bacon. The event quickly outgrew its inaugural event space and will be held at the Kino Sports Complex from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. under the lights of the ballpark. General admission starts at 6pm.
Joining title sponsor Hormel will be local sponsors Harley Davidson of Tucson, RideNow Power Sports, Rock 102.1, KLPX 96.1, NBC affiliate, KVOA 4 and KNST.
“We learned our lessons from last year,” festival creator Rob Betanourt told me. “We are cutting off ticket sales and requiring participating restaurants to guarantee samples.”
Last year’s inaugural festival met with several issues including long lines, excessive heat with no area of retreat from the beating sun. Once entrants braved the long lines and the heat, they were met with several empty booths that had already ran out of food.
“We had only sold 50 pre-sale tickets prior to the event last year and had no idea what to expect,” Betancourt said. “We are better prepared this year and look to redeem ourselves from last year.”
This year’s festival will be held in a much larger venue to combat the long lines, it will be held at night to answer the heat problem and the eateries are bringing a guaranteed number of samples to fix the issue of running out of food early.
Festival goers will be treated with bacon-centric samplings from 30+ local restaurants and 20 breweries from Tucson, across Arizona and even Canada’s Parallel 49 Brewing Company. Chefs will compete with their bacon-filled creations submitted to a panel of celebrity judges from television and radio for the title of “ABF Best in Show.”
Attendees will also receive a 4-oz. tasting glass to taste the latest craft beer offerings and to learn about proper pairing of styles of beer with different types of food. Live music from Love Boat delivering “Yacht Rock” and Evolution bringing “Arena Anthem Rock” will provide the entertainment with DJs Super Mario and Michael “DJ Bignut” Lopez spinning party music in between sets.
This 21 and over event will also provide interactive games such as horseshoe toss, steer roping and much more.
Tickets start at $40 in advance from local Tucson merchants Brushfire BBQ, Plaza Liquors and Lindy’s on 4th Avenue. Online tickets can be purchased at www.arizonabaconfest.net for $45 with VIP packages at $100. The VIP package will allow you an hour early entrance, a separate gated entrance, t-shirt and a tented “trough” with a waitress to deliver the beer and bacon.
Free parking will be available onsite as well as hotel accommodations at Fairfield Inn and Suites offering free shuttle service to and from the festival and a promo code for that Bacon Discount.
A portion of the proceeds will go to La Frontera of Arizona’s Rally Point. Rally Point is a service of military veterans helping veterans. Whether it be substance abuse, family violence, housing crises or medical issues, Rally Point is at the front line to fight the war at home.
- When: Saturday, June 7, 6-10 pm
- Where: Kino Sports Complex, 2500 E. Ajo Way, Tucson, Ariz.
- Cost: General Admission - $40 pre-sale at local merchants, $45 pre-sale online, $50 day of event. VIP - $100, online only.