For two days, throngs of people pigged out at Baconfest Chicago, conveniently located at the UIC Forum.
April 17-18 were busy days, with both lunchtime on Saturday and dinner sessions on Friday and Saturdayall with lines down the block. Bacon-loving fans waited to visit more than 170 various chefs at their booths as the place was packed, with 4,500 guests expected this year. Thankfully, there was a Baconfest Lounge ( courtesy of the Acme Hotel Company ) where attendees could sit for a minute and digest their hearty samples right outside.
Baconfest turned seven in 2015 and has provided more than 1 million meals to the Greater Chicago Food Depository over the years.
Awards and prizes were distributed for achievement in the bacon arts for participants, including poetry contests winners with a bacon theme. Raffle prizes raised money for the food drive with gift bags galore for lucky ticket holders. Seven year veterans for this pork party included Chef Troy Graves, Chef Nathan Sears, Chef Pat Sheerin, David Burke's Primehouse and Signature Room.
More than 40 new restaurants were added to the mix this year, among them Ceres' Table, Kaiser Tiger and Charlatan. Standouts in the newbies section were chili-rubbed pork-butt tacos from Velvet Taco and duck fat-wrapped hot dogs with cheese sauce at BottleFork/Duck Inn.
There were many desserts to choose from, such as flying pig cotton candy provided by Farmhouse Chicago and dark chocolate bacon cookies that Pinstripes presented.
Drink tickets were part of the package, with libations from beers like Lagunitas and Goose Island, among several others. Tito's Handmade Vodka mixed cocktails while bottled water stations ( courtesy of Smeraldina Water ) helped to wash down all the crispy cured goodness.
Follow Bacon Month and next year's festival details at baconfestchicago.com .