Organizers of the Tri-Cities Baconfest are making this year's event something to sing about.
In addition to more "pork partners" serving up delicious bacon-based dishes, the search is on for the best bacon song. The top three original tunes will be performed at the third annual Tri-Cities Baconfest on Aug. 30 at the Millennium Centre in Johnson City.
"People enjoy really good times around food and they're ready to have an awesome experience at Baconfest," said Brandi Woodall, festival producer. "This is all about the love of bacon."
The winner of the singer-songwriter competition will receive a cash prize and recording time at Steele Creek Studios. Whoever takes home that top prize won't be the only person singing a swine-sounding song. Whoever wins the coveted Golden Griddle Award will be squealing all the way to Las Vegas.
Baconfest organizers kicked the tasting competition up a notch this year, making it an official qualifying event of the World Food Championships -- Bacon World Championships. Whoever receives the Golden Griddle Award at Baconfest will get $1,000 toward their travel costs to Las Vegas to compete in the championship in November, which airs on national TV and offers a cash prize of $25,000.
"Local restaurants are already talking smack about this competition," Woodall said. "Even foodies from across the nation have found us on Twitter and claim that they have the best bacon recipes."
Baconfest competitors, called "pork partners," must come up with a creative dish that utilizes bacon. Past participants have served bacon s'mores, bacon jam and chicken wings deep fried in bacon grease. Festival goers with VIP tickets may vote for their favorite, which determines the winner of the Golden Griddle Award.
Another bonus for "pork partners" is the opportunity to give back to the community. A $100 donation will be given to each pork partner's charity of choice. The Golden Griddle Winner will select a charity to receive $1,000 on its behalf.
Baconfest will be presented by Holston River Brewery and Holston Distributing. All net proceeds from brew sales will be donated to Dawn of Hope.
"Of course we love bacon, but we want to give back to as many charities as possible," Woodall said. "It could be as many as three dozen. I'm dreaming big!"
Other Baconfest events include a bacon eating competition, a Mr. and Miss Tri-Cities Baconfest Pageant, complete with hog calling and bacon trivia, plus music by Folk Soul Revival.
Festival organizers decided to move the event outdoors to the Millennium Centre in order to scale things down and give ticketholders more bang for the buck, Woodall said. Baconfest will be held on National Bacon Day, Aug. 30 from 1 to 4 p.m.
This year, VIP ticketholders can sample all the dishes, and will receive two beverage tickets and a commemorative glass. General admission tickets include 12 sampling tickets.
VIP Tickets are $48.90 each, general admission tickets are $26.95 each and a child ticket is $5.49. All prices include sales tax. A limited number of tickets are available and can be purchased online at www.tricitiesbaconfest.com . Find Tri-Cities Baconfest on Facebook and Twitter by searching "TCbaconfest."