I love bacon. No really. So much so I have even contemplated giving it up for Lent. I thought I was being cute a few years ago when I’d tell people to support their local pork producers because everything is better with bacon. Apparently, I wasn’t off the mark – in recent years bacon has become sexy. A pop culture icon. And now – You can always have bacon (of some sorts) at your fingertips. There’s bacon ice cream, chocolate covered bacon, bacon vodka, bacon flavored lip balm and even a bacon air freshener for your car (I’m not sure of that one – but people keep giving them to me as gifts – I’ll have to try it out eventually). You can even celebrate your love for bacon with thousands of your closest friends.
There are bacon celebrations scattered all over the United States. In 2008 Andre Vonbaconvitch (not kidding – that’s his real bacon loving pseudonym) and two other friends came up with the idea to bring Baconfest to Chicago. This year the Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA) became the presenting sponsor of Baconfest Chicago. What a partnership – the people that are responsible for makin’ bacon presenting the festival that honors the absolutely deliciously sexy food that so many people adore. How much fun is that?
But here’s the serious stuff… Not only were the volunteers from IPPA able to interact and continue to tell the message of the Illinois pork farmer with the 2,000 attendees of this years Baconfest – they were able to raise more than $1,600 in donations alone from their highly popular Peace. Love. Bacon. t-shirts for the Pork Power program. Attendees were asked to bring a food item to donate for the Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD) and IPPA would match the donation pound for pound with pork. The GCFD food drive collected 1,653 lbs of food. Illinois Pork Producers will be donating nearly 2,500 lbs of pork to the Greater Chicago Food Depository (1,653 pounds of pork – matching the food collected PLUS 850 pounds of pork that they will purchase with the $1,622 raised from the t-shirt donations).
All in all a pretty amazing feat from some of the nations best pork producers. One other “fun” thing from the weekend – my friend Tim, Director of Public Relations with Illinois Pork Producers, recites this years winning Ode to Bacon written by Joel Chmara called “Johnny Baconseed: A Poem For The Hopeless Romantics”.
So many great things came from this partnership – Afterall.. Everything is better with bacon.Johnny Baconseed