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BaconFest Chicago
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mmm...baconWhat is Baconfest Chicago?

Baconfest Chicago is a full day celebration of bacon: a Fest to end all Fests. Baconfest’s roster of bacon-inspired activities, bacon-foods, and bacon-spirits comprise the greatest single culinary and cultural festival ever dedicated to Bacon and Bacon only.

We estimate that over 3,000 bacon aficionados will visit Baconfest in April 2012 at the UIC FORUM located just minutes from Downtown Chicago on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

At the Bacon Vendor Expo, artisan bacon-makers and bacontrepreneurs will display, sample, and sell their multitude of local craft bacons and bacon-related products on the floor of the Vendor Expo. Grab a Baconfest Chicago: Guide to Bacon playbill and walk around. You’ll have landed in a bacon-lover’s Nirvana.

At the Bacon Chef and Bar Expo, chefs from Chicago’s hottest restaurants prepare and serve small plates starring bacon. Chicago’s finest mixologists and brewers quench our throats made parched from all that delicious bacon with their refreshing bacon-based and bacon-inspired cocktails and brews.

To celebrate special achievement, we give out Golden Rashers (the Oscars of the bacon world) to pro and amateur chefs as well as the winners of our Bacon arts poetry, video, song, and other contests.

Best of all is that the above mentioned bacon debauchery helps support an amazing cause: The Greater Chicago Food Depository!  Although Baconfest itself is not a charity, we support the GCFD at our event: we run a food drive and provide the GCFD with a cash donation.  In 2011, Baconfest donated $25,000 cash plus collected food at the event which the IPPA matched pound-for-pound in ground pork totaling over 65,000 pounds of food donated to the GCFD by our event!!

For an overview of the event, see this great feature that aired nationally on the Food Network in Fall 2011:

When is Baconfest Chicago?

Saturday April 14th, 2012.

Inspired by guest and chef feed-back from last year, and the OVERWHELMING interest from chefs/restaurants in joining us on April 14th, this year’s Baconfest Chicago will be divided into TWO exhibition sessions, a Lunch Shift and a Dinner Shift.  Each shift will feature a “VIP Hour” prior to the 2.5 hour “General Admission” period.

You may choose one of the two session times below:

The VIP Hour for the Lunch Session will be between 11:30am and 12:30pm.  General Admission is from 12:30pm-3pm.

The VIP Hour for the Dinner Session will be between 5:30pm and 6:30pm.  General Admission is from 6:30pm-9pm.

In past years, Baconfest tickets have sold out extremely quickly.  If you want to buy tickets for April 2012, we suggest you sign up for our email-list at You can also follow us on Twitter (@baconfestchi) and like us on Facebook (

How much are tickets?

For 2012, VIP tickets are $150.00.  General Admission Tickets are $75.00

Purchase tickets here:

What is included?

Each year we try to make Baconfest better and better which means that there will always be new additions and some pruning to keep everything fresh.  That said, in past years a ticket to Baconfest has included:

- Access to the chef area and many tasting portions of the chefs’ bacon-ingenuity.
- Drink Tickets, each one good for a hefty tasting portion of each liquor sponsor’s wares.
- Access to Baconfest’s Vendor Expo with samples of vendor wares (as available) and the opportunity to purchase pre-packaged retail bacon-related products.
- A swanky Baconfest gift bag to fill up with swag.
- A souvenir Baconfest Chicago’s Guide to Bacon publication.

Access to the chef area? What’s that about? How much bacon will I get to eat?

We will have tasting portions of bacon snacks from approximately 55 chef stations per shift.  First come, first served until portions run out.  We know there will be die-hards who will attempt to eat everything.  We will not call you an ambulance. We know that some people will be happy to get tastes of their top 10 chefs.  We anticipate that everyone will have bacon coming out of their ears before the day is out.

Can I get seconds of any of the dishes?

Will we be retina scanning you to see if you’ve already been to a table?  No.
  Do we trust your sense of fairness and respect for fellow guests?  Yes!

Why two sessions this year?

Last year we had one big session, but were unable to accommodate all of the people that wanted to attend Baconfest.  With two shifts this year, we hope to accommodate all of the guests, chefs and vendors that want to participate while preserving everything we love about Baconfest.

What if I don’t drink?

We cannot offer a discount for non-drinkers, but you are welcome to come to the event and enjoy all the rest of the fun on offer.   And we will have soft drinks and water on hand.

Are kids allowed?

We recommend leaving kids 10 or under at home.  There will be a lot of people walking around with hot food, some will be drinking.  Though we hate to discriminate against the next generation of Bacon-lovers, it’s in their best interest that we advise not bringing kids under 10 years of age.  Kids over 10 will need to have a ticket.

Why are tickets nontransferable?

We want to discourage ticket-scalping. We don’t think there’s a lot of value added by having tickets floating about in a secondary ticket market (ie. scalpers and resellers).  We have calculated our ticket price to be a good match for the value of the experience received and would hate to see someone pay way more than our intended ticket price for the same experience as somebody who paid the face value.  So, we check IDs to make sure that the ticket holder is the same as the ticket purchaser and we limit the number of tickets that each person can buy.  If you have a legitimate, non-secondary-ticket-market-related need to transfer your tickets, drop us an email and we’ll try to accommodate you as best we can.

Is this an April Fools Joke?

No.  See PRESS for highlights from years past if you are skeptical.

If only seeing is believing for you, then watch this great feature that aired nationally on the Food Network in Fall 2011:

Who is behind Baconfest?

Baconfest Chicago is the brainchild of the Baconfest Triumvirate: Michael Griggs, Andre Vonbaconvitch and Seth Zurer. See our Bios for more detail.

I saw the Bios: all they talk about is your day jobs. Do you guys have any qualifications to run Baconfest aside from an unsavory obsession with America’s favorite cured pork product?

Well. Yes. We have a deep network of contacts in the Chicago food world and the passion to make Baconfest a reality.  Plus our track record of fun and flawless Baconfest Chicago events speaks for itself.

Why Baconfest?

Please read our Manifesto. Also, seriously? You’re asking why about something called Baconfest? I think you know the answer to that question.

I don’t live in Chicago. Is there a Baconfest in my city?

There may be. Baconfest Chicago is not the only Baconfest in the world. Since we started our planning, we’ve found an unofficial network of baconfests that have existed for decades. We’re not even the first Baconfest in Chicago – in 2010, the people at Risque apparently threw a Baconfest. There is a Bacon Fest in Des Moines, Atlanta and Smithfield, UT. A related category of event, called BaconCamp, has been held in San Francisco and future baconcamps are planned for Vancouver, Seattle and Miami. Scratch the surface and you’ll see that Baconfest Chicago is part of a global bacon community. Join up!  (But we think we’re the best).

Um, I’m Jewish.

Excellent question. We think our Facebook friend Paul Libman had some deep insight into Baconfest when he posted this Haiku to our group:

Bacon seduces
all that is Jewish in me.
Mom rolls in her grave.

The Midrash explains the relationship between Baconfest and Judaism when it discusses the role of the Apikoros – or heretic. Derived from the Greek epicurus (as in Epicurean!), in Jewish culture the Apikoros is anyone who has broken away from the Rabbinate; or more generally, someone who has abandoned the specific adherence to the strict rules that govern observant Jewish life in favor of a “rational”, critical approach to life. Since medieval times, the Apikoros has been valued and feared for the critical distance and skepticism about dogma that he/she brings to the study of Jewish identity.

We at Baconfest are skeptical about sumptuary laws, whether they are the rules of Kashrut, the practices of Halal, the municipal ban on Foie gras or the modern habits of the ovo-lacto-vegetarian. We respect the deliciousness that can come from imposing narrow restrictions on one’s dietary habits, but choose to apply only those restrictions that serve our vision for a happy and fulfilled life. Does that make us hedonists? Yes. I think it does.

That said, perhaps you will enjoy the tee-shirts or photography contest.

How can I help Baconfest?

You can:

- Spread the word. Blog about us. Tweet about us. Put us in your status updates. Make our logo the background for your desktop. Talk about us to the national food press. Write articles about us in your magazine / newspaper / newsletter.  Follow us on Twitter and “like” us on Facebook while you are at it!

- Send us your suggestions – we’re looking for chefs, bacon-makers and creative bacon entrepreneurs to include in Baconfest.

Some additional links to more great info!

Who was there in 2011?
Here are the chefs:
Here are the vendors:
Here are the sponsors:

Pics or GTFO!
Happy to oblige!

What cool content is here?
Our Manifesto:
The Chicago Reader’s Bacon Noir:
2011 By the Numbers:
Who won the 2011 Golden Rashers:

I want to be a part of this!
Sponsorship opportunities:
Restaurant opportunities:
Vendor opportunities:
Be our guest:
Buy the teeshirt: