BaconFest Florida: Twice the space, twice the bacon in 2014

If you were one of the many curious people who sidled up to the gate at inaugural BaconFest Florida at the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek a couple of weekends ago,  only to find that it was sold out, take heed: The festival folks feel your pork-deprived pain.

Rumor has it that talks took place this week in which the casino said it planned to double the size of the 2014 event, which this year drew nearly 2,500 visitors to feast on 2,000 pounds of bacony goodness put forth by more than 20 vendors.  Next year’s event will also include more music, food and drink offerings, a source said.

This year’s BaconFest, hosted by Chef Todd Fisher from Discovery Channel’s “United States of Bacon,”  included a performance by the Bacon Brothers Band (the six-piece rock ensemble led by actor Kevin and composer brother Michael) and an opening set by the Dan Band.

Organizers would do well to bring both back: the Bacons for their soulful brand of Americana and engaging stage presence (video below), and Dan Finnerty for his reliably profane set of pop favorites, which included iconic tunes from the movies “Old School” (“Total Eclipse of the Heart”) and “The Hangover” (“Candy Shop”), as well as insane treatments of “Shoop,” “Glamorous Life,” “Ring My Bell” and Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie.”

While doubling the capacity of the 2014 BaconFest, you have to hope organizers  more than double the number of vendors to alleviate lines. One guest (that would be me) waited in line about 20 minutes for the Melting Pot’s bacon milkshake only to find that the blender, just purchased for the occasion, had given out. The power of bacon.

Among the big hits at BaconFest, and sure to be invited back next year: Kapow! Noodle Bar in Boca Raton, which served a bacon and jalapeno ragoon with chimichurri sauce and shot of strawberry lemonade with bacon salt, winner of the best appetizer award; Gimme A Burger of Deerfield Beach, which won best entrée for its coffee-infused, bacon-wrapped cheese burger with a coffee-brown sugar rub (odd, but you’d line up for seconds, trust me); and Bacon Bites (a national retailer), which won best dessert for its bacon strips coated in peanut butter and chocolate.

Also memorable: the bacon-wrapped chorizo and goat cheese from Dada in Delray Beach; Smokey Bones’ bacon-infused cheddar pretzel slider (yeah, I had four, so what?); the chocolate, peanut butter and bacon mousse from La Marquise Desserts in Coral Springs; and the bacon-maple cupcakes (like eating a French toast breakfast in a single bite) from Jodi’s Cupcakes in Boca Raton.

Something else to think about for next year: Some of fashion was inspired, with porked-out ensembles ranging from head to toe, sexy to stupid, but all of it thoughtful and fun. Bacon bikini, anyone? Info: SeminoleCoconutCreekCasino.com.

Photo: Ralph Notaro, Nine Digit Media

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