Juneau Baconfest returns to even bigger success

3/30/2014 2:45 AM
By Associated Press

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A 230-pound hog will make about 34 ½ pounds of bacon.

It takes just five pounds to create an outfit.

"It's actually pretty comfortable," model Amy George said as she greeted visitors to the second annual Juneau Baconfest.

Four hundred people flocked to Centennial Hall on March 15 to enjoy Juneau's second annual celebration of America's most popular pig product. The event is a fundraiser for the Glacier Valley Rotary, which hosts it.

"By 9 o'clock Wednesday morning (the tickets) were gone," said emcee David Summers, who wore a bacon-striped jacket as he welcomed attendees.

Before noshing on Baranof bacon baklava and Breeze-In bacon cocktails, each visitor was welcomed by the Bacon Burlesque.

"I made it just for Baconfest," explained veteran wearable art artist Lauralye Miko as she gestured to George's outfit.

For the past six years, Miko has entered works in the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council's Wearable Art show. Fresh off her success at this year's show (her dress made of eggshells finished second overall), the Glacier Valley Rotary asked her to create a piece for Baconfest.

Instead of the three months she needed for her eggshell dress, she had five days.

"In that five days, I probably worked 40 hours," she said.

Buying pre-cooked bacon in five-pound lots - "If there's one thing worse than buying five pounds of bacon, it's returning five pounds of bacon," she said - she created a skimpy burlesque outfit.

"The worst part was the cats; we have three cats, and I had to keep them off of it," she said.

While Miko's work drew plenty of stares, most people at Centennial Hall came to eat - not just look at - the festival's namesake food.

Eighteen restaurants set up booths around Centennial Hall's largest ballroom, filling the space with the salty, meaty scent of bacon.

Each attendee was handed a ballot and asked to vote for their favorite dish. Live music played from a center stage, and events including a hog-calling contest and a bacon-eating competition broke up the bacon browsing.

In one corner of the hall, Jessica Meacham and Tonya Freeman of TK Maguire's restaurant put finishing touches on cups of bacon Aioli with fried oysters.

Last year was their baconfest debut, and this year, they knew what to expect as they competed for top prize.

Preparing for the event is more fun than work, Freeman said, even if it did take two days to think up and execute their culinary design.

Across the hall, Mi Casa chef Anthony Parr laid out samples of bacon caramel brownies.

"It took, I'd say, from start to go, about four hours (to make)," he said as he cut and removed brownies from a catering-sized pan.

This was Parr's first Baconfest, and he said he was eager to participate. "It's a learning experience," he said, and the public relations aspects don't hurt.

"You get your name out there for your restaurant and yourself."


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11/22/2014 | Last Updated: 8:30 AM